RAC Foundation

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The RAC Foundation (The Royal Automobile Club Foundation for Motoring) is a registered charity.

It is a transport policy and research organisation that explores the economic, mobility, safety and environmental issues relating to roads and their users. It publishes independent and authoritative research with which it promotes informed debate and advocates policy in the interests of the responsible motorist.

It was established as the research arm of RAC Motoring Services Ltd in 1991, when Motoring Services was owned by the Royal Automobile Club. In 1999, when Motoring Services was sold by the club, the foundation became an independent organisation. It later gained charitable status.


The foundation was formed in 1991.[1]

It became independent of RAC Motoring Services in 1999 and received a legacy from the members of the Royal Automobile who had sold RAC Motoring Services. It subsequently became a charity.[2]

The current director is Steve Gooding CB who took up the post in May 2015[3] , taking over from Stephen Glaister who was in the role from April 2008[4] before leaving to take up a non-executive directorship at the Office of Rail and Road, where he subsequently became chair.[5]

Gooding had previously been director general of roads, traffic and local group at the Department for Transport and led the work that resulted in the transformation of the Highways Agency into Highways England. He started with the Civil Service in 1983 and moved into the central transport department in 1988 where he worked until joining the foundation except for periods spent in the Cabinet Office, the Government Office for London and the Office of the Rail Regulator.

The foundation's first director was Edmund King. He later left to become president of the Automobile Association.[6]

The first chair of the foundation was Sir Christopher Foster (Cantab), an academic at the University of Oxford and MIT, a professor of economics at the London School of Economics, a consultant at Coopers & Lybrand, and then PricewaterhouseCoopers, and a temporary civil servant. He was a special adviser to Barbara Castle, Dick Marsh, Tony Crosland and Peter Shore.

Foster was followed in 2003 by David Holmes CB who was formerly director of government and industry affairs at British Airways and prior to that held several senior positions in the Department for Transport, including deputy secretary with responsibility for roads and traffic.

Holmes was succeeded in July 2009 by David Quarmby,[7] a consultant in transport, planning, economics and tourism. He was previously a non-executive director of NedRailways (UK) and a former director of Colin Buchanan and Partners. For 12 years he was a main board member of Sainsbury's, first as logistics director and latterly as joint managing director.

In July 2013, Quarmby was replaced as chair by Joe Greenwell CBE,[8] the former chair of Ford UK. Greenwell had previously been: Vice President, Government Affairs, Premier Automotive Group and Ford of Europe; Chairman and CEO of Jaguar and Land Rover; and Vice President, Marketing and Operations, Ford Motor Company.

The current chair Is Neville Jackson who took up the position in April 2020. Between 2010 and 2019 Jackson was the chief technology and innovation officer at the engineering and environmental consultancy firm Ricardo PLC. A visiting professor at the University of Brighton, Jackson is also a non-executive director of the UK Advanced Propulsion Centre. Trained as a mechanical engineer at Imperial College, London, he is a previous chair of the UK Low Carbon Vehicles Partnership.


The foundation has a board of six trustees including Neville Jackson who sits as its chair.[1]

The Public Policy Committee, also chaired by Neville Jackson, is an advisory body consisting of approximately a dozen members with relevant transport experience and interests, mainly drawn from academia, politics and business. The committee is consulted about research, strategy, major campaigns and future policy.

Day-to-day activity is managed by the director and various permanent staff.


The foundation's research falls into four main categories: economics, environment, mobility and safety. All of the research is available on the RAC Foundation website including interactive and automatically updated data charts relating to such things as fuel prices and the take up of ultra-low emission vehicles.

Some research is carried out in-house. The foundation also commissions experts in their field to investigate key areas of transport policy.

In 2010 and 2011 the foundation was one of the sponsors of the RAC Brighton to London Future Car Challenge. The foundation analysed the data collected from the low carbon cars that completed the run and published its conclusions in Shades of Green (2010)[9] and The Green Charge (2011).[10]

In 2017 the foundation contributed to Gergely Raccuja's winning entry in the Wolfson Economics Prize. The work - Miles Better - explored how a distance-based charge collected by insurers might eventually replace fuel duty and VED as revenue falls with the greening of the vehicle fleet.

In June 2018 it was announced that The RAC Foundation was to receive £480,000 of funding from the Department for Transport to support its Road Collision Investigation Project with the aim of trialling "an innovative new approach to road casualty investigation, looking more closely at what is really causing road collisions."


Key publications and research include:

  • Roads and Reality[11]
  • The Car in British Society[12]
  • Governing and Paying for England’s Roads[13]
  • Keeping the Nation Moving[14]
  • Fuel for Thought, the What, Why and How of Motoring Taxation[15]
  • On the Move: Car and Rail Travel Trends[16]
  • Powering Ahead: Future of Low-Carbon Cars and Fuels[17]
  • Ploughing On - Winter Resilience Review[18]
  • The Car and the Commute[19]
  • Graduated Driver Licensing - Mapping the Cost of Young Driver Accidents[20]
  • Saving Lives by Lowering Legal Drink-Drive Limit[21]
  • Effectiveness of Average Speed Cameras[22]
  • Air Quality and Road Transport[23]
  • Diesel Scrappage - Could it Work?[24]
  • Towards an Accident Investigation Branch for Roads[25]
  • New car mileage - analysis of MOT data[26]


  1. ^ a b "About Us". RAC Foundation. Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  2. ^ "Charity Commission for England and Wales". Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  3. ^ "Top Civil Servant to Lead Transport Research Charity". RAC Foundation. 5 March 2015. Retrieved 19 June 2015.
  4. ^ "Stephen Glaister is new RAC Foundation director". RAC Foundation. 30 April 2008. Retrieved 26 February 2010.
  5. ^ "Statement on ORR chair". ORR. 4 January 2018. Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  6. ^ "AA appoints president". 10 December 2007. Retrieved 27 August 2014.
  7. ^ "New chairman for RAC Foundation". RAC Foundation. 14 July 2009. Archived from the original on 10 September 2012. Retrieved 26 February 2010.
  8. ^ "Ford's Joe Greenwell becomes head of RAC Foundation". Fleet World. 30 May 2013. Retrieved 27 August 2014.
  9. ^ "Shades of Green". RAC Foundation. 6 May 2011. Retrieved 20 June 2012.
  10. ^ "The Green Charge". RAC Foundation. 28 March 2012. Retrieved 27 August 2014.
  11. ^ "Roads and Reality". RAC Foundation. 7 November 2008. Retrieved 20 June 2012.
  12. ^ "The Car in British Society". RAC Foundation. 17 April 2009. Retrieved 21 June 2012.
  13. ^ "Governing and Paying for England's Roads". RAC Foundation. 30 June 2010. Retrieved 21 June 2012.
  14. ^ "Keeping the Nation Moving". RAC Foundation. 21 November 2011. Retrieved 21 June 2012.
  15. ^ "Fuel for Thought". RAC Foundation. 12 May 2012. Retrieved 21 June 2012.
  16. ^ "On the Move Car and Rail Travel Trends". RAC Foundation. 3 December 2012. Retrieved 4 June 2014.
  17. ^ "Powering Ahead: Future of Low-Carbon Cars and Fuels". RAC Foundation. 22 April 2013. Retrieved 4 June 2014.
  18. ^ "Ploughing On - Winter Resilience Review". RAC Foundation. 10 May 2013. Retrieved 4 June 2014.
  19. ^ "The Car and the Commute". RAC Foundation. 2 December 2013. Retrieved 27 August 2014.
  20. ^ "Graduated Driver Licensing - Mapping the Cost of Young Driver Accidents". RAC Foundation. 27 May 2014. Retrieved 27 August 2014.
  21. ^ "saving Lives by Lowering Legal Drink-Drive Limit" (PDF). RAC Foundation. 16 December 2015. Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 January 2018. Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  22. ^ "Effectiveness of Average Speed Cameras" (PDF). RAC Foundation. 30 September 2016. Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  23. ^ "Air Quality and Road Transport". RAC Foundation. 4 June 2014. Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  24. ^ "Diesel Scrappage - Could it Work?" (PDF). RAC Foundation. 6 March 2017. Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  25. ^ "Towards an Accident Investigation Branch for Roads" (PDF). RAC Foundation. 15 December 2017. Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  26. ^ "New car mileage based on analysis of MOT data". www.racfoundation.org. Retrieved 4 May 2020.

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