Our role in the development of road investment strategies


Information on our role in the development of the third road investment strategy (RIS3), 2025-30, and links to key documents relating to the advice we provided during the development of RIS2 (2020-25).

We play an important role in the development of a new road investment strategy (RIS). Our responsibilities cover two main areas:

  • We support the setting of the RIS, by providing advice on what the Secretary of State can expect to achieve with the funds identified. This advice is intended to ascertain whether the developing proposition is both challenging and deliverable, particularly in terms of efficiency; and
  • We ensure that National Highways meets the obligations in its licence that relate to the setting of the RIS. 

Details of the process of setting a RIS are set out in the licence. Our duties are further described in a Memorandum of Understanding between the highways monitor and the Department for Transport. 

Third road investment strategy (RIS3) 

RIS3 concerns the government’s plans for developing and improving the strategic road network during the third road period (expected to cover April 2025 to March 2030). 

We are in the early stages of preparing for the RIS3 development process. In 2021 we will be undertaking a consultation on our proposed approach to RIS3. Further details will be provided here. 

As set out above, we provided advice to the government at key stages during the development of a RIS and we are responsible for reviewing National Highways’ plans. We do not set roads policy or determine investment priorities. If you would like to provide views on the quality or impact of the SRN and investment priorities then visit National Highways’ website.

Second road investment strategy (RIS2)

RIS2 concerns the government’s plans for the second road period (April 2020 to March 2025). Our work culminated in the advice we provided to the Secretary of State about the company's Draft Strategic Business Plan (termed the ‘Efficiency Review’).

RIS2 Efficiency Review - Our advice on the Draft Strategic Business Plan Collapse accordion Open accordion

We reviewed National Highways' (formerly Highways England's) Draft Strategic Business Plan (Draft SBP) in the first half of 2019, and submitted our advice to the Secretary of State on 28 June 2019, in line with the statutory timescales set out in the Draft RIS. Our analysis and advice were based on the information provided in the Draft SBP, which mostly dated to August 2018.

There were changes to the RIS2 package after the Draft SBP came to us. These changes were not covered in our advice but are reflected in the final set of RIS2 documents.

DfT and National Highways responded to our recommendations in the RIS2 package and we provided additional, informal advice on how they were applied.

RIS2 supporting evidence Collapse accordion Open accordion

We commissioned a range of analysis to support our review. The reports used information provided in the Draft SBP, many aspects of which have now changed in the final RIS. 

RIS2 capability reviews Collapse accordion Open accordion

In preparation for the efficiency review, we commissioned, jointly with National Highways, a set of capability reviews in areas that we expected to be important for delivering efficiency in the second road period.

They provided a view of the level of efficiency the company could achieve from these activities but need to be considered alongside National Highways' wider efficiency plans and other evidence, including benchmarking.

Our approach to the second road investment strategy (RIS2) Collapse accordion Open accordion

In 2016, we set out how we would approach our role and highlighted a range of issues that we believed should be considered in the development of RIS2.