AA Streetwatch

Highlighting local issues with roads and driving

6 September 2011

It's clear from feedback on issues such as lack of grit or potholes that AA members are genuinely concerned about the state of local roads. This is why we started AA Streetwatch surveys in 2010 – regular surveys to give a unique insight into the 'true state of the nation's' roads.

We expect AA Streetwatch to grow and become the most comprehensive regular survey of its type.

Observations by AA Members volunteering to give up a little of their time a couple of times a year will help us to develop trend data that we can use to influence national and local government to improve the situation for all road users.

Streetwatch surveys will pioneer a local community spirit to show how simple, often easily fixable, problems can tarnish an area's image. The surveys will also provide a regular benchmark of community issues in the light of local authority budget cut backs.

Comments from Streetwatchers

Good on you AA for doing this survey – great idea!"
"Enjoyed the exercise and would be keen to participate in future"
"Get as many people out doing this. I took my grandchildren and as well as exercise they enjoyed the whole experience"

Sunken drain

Sunken drain

Streetwatch 1 - road condition

The first Streetwatch survey took place in late-October/early-November 2010 when 1,912 AA members each walked a local route for about 60 minutes taking in a range of road types including local footways checking for:

• Broken kerbs
• Blocked street drains
• Obscured road signs
• Uneven footpaths
• Roadworks
• Potholes
• Sunken utility trenches
• Worn road markings
• Sunken inspection covers
• Litter
• Dog fouling

Road junction

Road junction

Streetwatch 2 - driver behaviour

Responding to feedback from the first survey – Members were asked to highlight the biggest concerns locally and suggest ideas for future surveys – the second AA Streetwatch survey (mid-April/early-May 2011) looked at driver behaviour.

Volunteers each observed around 100 vehicles passing through a local junction and made a note of seatbelt wearing, mobile phone use, indicator use, speed and defective brake lights.

Big pothole count

Big pothole count

Streetwatch 3 - the big pothole count

For the third Streetwatch survey we are going back to the subject of the first - the state of streets local to your home. The survey should only take an hour and may require you to walk a mile or two but will give valuable information about how the state of our roads has changed in the past year - in an AA/Populus survey 81% of members told us that the roads have deterioriated in the last three years.

Streetwatch 4 - the big litter pick

AA Streetwatch volunteers and staff  conducted the AA Streetwatch big litter pick collection in May 2012 to help clear up our streets ahead of the 2012 Games.

AA President, Edmund King, attended a Government Roundtable litter summit in March where Environment Secretary, Caroline Spelman, also called for litter action prior to the Games.

Streetwatch 5 - the big pothole count

Eight hundred hours of surveying by AA members in their own neighbourhoods in October 2012 found that even those walking on pavements encountered an average of nearly two potholes (1.9) per mile.

Overall, the number of potholes in roads has improved from an average of 14.9 per survey last year to 12.5 this year. Paths and pavements are marginally better, down from 4.0 to 3.7 per survey.

Streetwatch 6 - local communities fit for walking and cycling

The AA’s first Streetwatch survey of 2013 set out to discover how much walking and cycling AA members are doing and to explore barriers preventing them from walking/cycling more.

To try to eliminate leisure walking/cycling survey respondents were asked only about journeys beginning or ending at their home.

In total there were 22,196 completed surveys with responses from all 124 UK postcode areas. The survey was conducted between 23 and 28 May 2013.

Download the report (pdf)  »


(updated 16 August 2013)