New guidelines for road design say eye-catching views can stop drivers falling asleep

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Views of the countryside and local landmarks can help reduce driver fatigue, according to new guidelines on road-building published by Highways England.

The agency, which is responsible for England's motorways and main A roads, said that its ten principles of good road design will be used when planning future road schemes. The principles include making roads safe, intuitive to use and environmentally sustainable while enhancing a "sense of place".

The report, titled The Road to Good Design, sets out an ambition to create a road network that will be "appreciated for its usefulness but also its elegance, reflecting in its design the beauty of the natural, built and historic environment through which it passes, and enhancing it where possible".

Highways England chief engineer Mike Wilson explained: "Creating different vistas, different environments for people to consider, is a way of stimulating the road user.

"You might argue they're safer because of it."

Wilson dismissed concerns that drivers could be distracted by the scenery and said that "statement structures" like the Angel of the North in Gateshead and the Willow Man in Somerset provide "a sense of location and how you're making progress on your journey".

Interesting views could help drivers stay awake, he argued.

Previous projects cited in the report as examples of good design include the use of traditional dry stone walls to "reinforce the A590's connection to the Cumbrian landscape" and a "green bridge" on the A556 in Cheshire which allows wildlife to cross.

Are there any interesting (or boring!) views on your regular routes? Do you agree that views of the local area can keep boredom at bay?

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