The paper is divided into eight sections of text, five technical appendices and a bibliography. Section one describes the special nature of road spending, why it is a government responsibility and how it has been used as an economic regulator. Section two explores the penalties involved in being an economic regulator and shows how roads have been subjected to more fluctuations in spending than other government budgets. It is shown that the roads and transport budget has been consistently and substantially underspent, and that the underspending of the English motorways and trunk road budget, the direct responsibility of the Department of Transport, has worsened since 1976. Section three examines further the costs that deviations from plans have given rise to. Productivity in road construction has declined since 1973 when the cuts in road budgets began and underspending became a problem. It is suggested that other costs such as the disruption and delays in the pre-construction stage, the difficulties of investment planning for the construction industry and the problems of accelerating spending once the financial constraints end, make budgetary deviations in roads more costly than changes in other government budgets. Section four develops one theme of the paper: that the recent history of road spending emphasises the urgent need for a better management control system within the department of transport, which is one of the few areas of government directly engaged in the manufacture of a tangible end product. Section five describes what is known of the present control system of the department, which is seen to be essentially physical with little analysis of the reasons for achievement varying from plans, and as a consequence little attempt to undertake corrective action. Section six explains the essential features of a basic management control system appropriate for an organisation, such as the department of transport, involved in a productive role. The main proposals of the paper are put forward in section seven which suggests various means by which the department could improve its performance apart from adopting a more formal management control system: by more internal flexibility between budgets, and by pressing for a system of financial flexibility between accounting years. Finally section eight concludes by suggesting that while the impetus for reform must come from outside government, only the departmental (TRRL)

  • Corporate Authors:

    British Road Federation

    388-396 Oxford Street
    London,   England 
  • Authors:
    • Leslie, S
  • Publication Date: 0

Media Info

  • Features: References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 16 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00322091
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: Transport Research Laboratory
  • Report/Paper Numbers: Monograph
  • Files: ITRD, TRIS
  • Created Date: Sep 16 1981 12:00AM