The RAC foundation has published a new report that calls for the Government to set up a roads regulator and a consumer watchdog for drivers.
The paper, entitled 'The Governance and Administration of National and Local Road in Great Britain' argues that although motorists contribute around 46 billion to the Exchequer each year in road tax, fuel duty and other vehicle-related charges, there is no independent regulator to determine funding, approve investment and monitor service standards.
The report states that the approach taken to water, energy and other utilities should be applied to the strategic road network to improve performance and investment.
Professor Stephen Glaister, Director of the RAC Foundation, said: 'We depend on a number of utility services such water, gas and electricity to support everyday life. These services are operated by a range of utilities in a way that could greatly benefit the UK's road network.
'Given the amount of money drivers contribute to the Exchequer each year, they have a right to demand certain things in return. Not least of these should be reliable journey times and solid plans for the future, which take into account the expected growth in traffic volumes.'
Among the recommendations in the report are:
1. Establishing a roads regulator
2. Establishing a consumer council to represent the interests of drivers
3. Formalising the Government's role in setting a national road strategy
4. Formalising the duties of the Highways Agency
5. Giving the Highways Agency corporate status
6. Providing the Highways Agency with a secure funding stream