A survey of drivers using services on two important ‘A’ roads in Southern England found high levels of customers satisfaction, but warned this was partly because their expectations of such facilities are low.

In the latest research from road user watchdog Transport Focus 96% of drivers using services on the A3 and A34 were satisfied with their experience on the day.

The results reveal drivers and passengers want more inviting facilities that offer clean, well-maintained toilets and a wider range of food and drink that is better value for money. They would also like more warning that services are coming up – on signs similar to those on motorways that show distances to the next few services and use brand logos to show what is available at each one.

Launching ‘A’ road services: what users of the A3 and A34 think, Anthony Smith, chief executive of the independent watchdog Transport Focus, said: “We know from all our research that the quality of service areas forms an integral part of the road user experience. We’ve said before that Highways England needs to publish a strategy setting out how it plans to improve services; they really need to get on with it.”

“Despite high satisfaction rates in this latest survey, it’s clear there is ample scope to improve the experience of ‘A’ road users when they visit services.

“We want Highways England to review signage for services on ‘A’ roads – to make sure more are in the right place and show information to help drivers make informed choices in good time to leave the road safely. We also want to see a maximum distance between services on ‘A’ roads.

“Lorry drivers are particularly poorly served. Highways England needs to move further and faster to ensure this major group of road users can find parking spaces with facilities that meet their needs.”

The research concentrated on services in one Highways England area covering parts of Surrey, Hampshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire, looking at provision on the A3 and a section of the A34. It is a pilot phase of research Transport Focus hopes to roll out across other Highways England operational areas in the future.