Roads see record levels of traffic

Traffic levels in Great Britain have reached a record high. Latest Government figures show that vehicle movements now stand at 324Bn miles, up 1.7% on last year and have increased by 3.2% since the pre recession peak of nearly a decade ago.

Car traffic grew by 1.4% (to 252Bn miles) and light commercial vehicles represent the fastest growing type of traffic, up by 4.5% in the last 12 months to nearly 50Bn miles.

Over the longer term this increase in van traffic is even more marked. In the last 20 years van movements went up by nearly 72%, compared to a 13% rise in car and taxi traffic and a 2% increase in lorry movements.

The statistics also show that traffic on rural A roads (94.3Bn vehicle miles) and minor roads outside of urban areas (45.7Bn vehicle miles) rose to record highs, each up around 2.4% on last year. Motorway traffic was up 1% in a year to 67.7Bn vehicle miles. Traffic on urban A roads remained broadly static (49.9Bn miles).

Compared to 20 years ago, rural traffic has increase by around 23%, with motorway traffic up 38%, but traffic levels on urban A roads is almost identical.

Motoring group the AA spokesman Jack Cousens said: “As congestion and traffic jams on motorways continue, it seems that some drivers have decided to look for alternative routes to beat the rush.

“Those that are looking to keep the wheels turning have started to use rural A roads by either planning ahead, or by asking their sat-navs for an alternative route when they are stuck in traffic. It may add more miles to the clock, but drivers are hoping the payoff comes from more consistent journey times.”

♦ Further insights into the rise in van traffic can be read on page seven of Transportation Professional’s May issue.