The adidas M1 - could firms buy naming rights for motorways?

Stephen Chapman's picture
by Stephen Chapman

Edmund King, the president of the AA, has proposed a “radical new solution” to improve the country’s road network.

In a paper submitted for the Wolfson Economics Prize, he suggests that naming rights for roads should be sold to brands.

“We would set up a Road Miles auction, where companies can buy road miles. We actually give naming rights, so if adidas want to name the A1, they can,” he explained in the submission.

“We set up a system where everyone in the UK gets at least 3000 road miles free, with free access to the road network, but then after that there is a small charge.”

He claims the “fun concept” will ensure that motorists will pay less and the road networks will have more to invest.

While some brands may see the fun side of being associated with a traffic “jam”, it’ll certainly lead to a lot of serious PR should there be ongoing repairs on the B&Q M60 or a collision on the Specsavers M62.

King prepared the paper with his wife, Deidre, a director of Blueprint Consultants and formerly economic business analyst for BBC Worldwide. She was also an economist at the British Road Foundation. King is a visiting professor of transport at Newcastle University.

This year’s Wolfson Economics Prize asks if it’s possible to imrpveo roads without increasing the cost of using them.

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