Global Infrastructure - Public Satisfaction and Priorities - Oct 2016

The survey included questions related to infrastructure - road, rail and air networks, utilities such as energy and water, and broadband and other communications. It has provided attitudinal and ‘satisfaction’ data across 26 countries. Here are the results for Great Britain.

The author(s)
  • Chris Jackson Senior Vice President, Public Affairs, US
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Three-quarters of the public, 75%, rate airports positively.

The public are more positive about the motorway/major road network than the local road network

Ratings are worst for rail infrastructure (track/stations); despite slightly higher levels of ‘don’t know’ relative to roads, a higher proportion rate rail infrastructure negatively.

Housing supply

59% of the public rate new housing supply as fairly or very poor in Britain.

This includes 27% rating this as very poor.

Other Ipsos research has found a strong conviction that housing supply is inadequate in terms of quantity and quality.

Environment & energy

The public are more negative than positive about flood defences by a margin of 2:1.

42% are positive about energy-generation infrastructure (excluding nuclear), but 34% are negative, and 24% say they don’t know.

Even more, 34%, do not offer an opinion on nuclear infrastructure but, among those who do, the balance is more negative than positive.

Other utilities

20% rate water supply and sewerage as very good, with a further 55% judging it fairly good.

This makes this the top-rated infrastructure in Britain (although only just above airports).

Broadband attracts worse ratings although the 34% very/fairly poor compares to 59% very/fairly good.


60% agree that ‘we are not doing enough to meet our infrastructure needs’, while 70% are of the view that investment in infrastructure is vital to future economic growth.

Twice as many are comfortable with the idea of foreign investment in new infrastructure (42% against 20%) if it means that projects can be delivered more quickly.

At the same time, though, 67% justify delays to infrastructure projects if it means that local communities’ views can be heard properly.


Priorities for investment are housing supply (48% choose this from a list), flood defences (45%) and rail infrastructure (44%).

44% back Government borrowing money to fund investment in better/more infrastructure, with 16% opposed and 40% unsure either way.  


  • Public accept case for investment in infrastructure.
  • Wide variation in ratings of different types of infrastructure: new housing supply and rail among top priorities (new housing supply is especially weak by global standards).

  • Public more comfortable than not with idea of foreign investment if it speeds progress. But also resistant to compromising proper hearing of local communities’ views.

The author(s)
  • Chris Jackson Senior Vice President, Public Affairs, US