Traffic congestion in the UK is heavier than it’s been for a decade. Britain’s commuters now spend 10 working days a year stuck in traffic, up from nine in 2013. The damning verdict on the state of our roads forms part of the most recent report by haulage industry body the Freight Transport Association (FTA). The organisation’s 14,000 members, many of whom see the roads on a daily basis, claim that Britain’s network was only 55 per cent reliable at the end of last year.
The lorry and van drivers believe the deterioration in the motorways is the main cause of traffic congestion. The FTA’s director of policy Karen Dee said: “This is a clear indication that congestion on our roads has increased again, and drivers are getting stuck in traffic on a regular basis. As the economy grows there will be increasing demands which will mean more pressure to deliver, and more vehicles on the roads – so it is only going to get worse.”
Even the Government admits: “The network is struggling to cope in the face of increasing traffic.” It follows from earlier claims by navigation firm TomTom’s Traffic Index. This showed that average journeys took 27 per cent longer when affected by traffic. It revealed that traffic jams in 10 of Britain’s 17 biggest cities have worsened.
The TomTom report says that drivers using rat runs might be making their trips slower. Local roads have 32 per cent of lost travel time, compared to 15 per cent on main roads.
The news comes on the verge of a new company taking over running motorways and major A-Roads in the UK. From April 1, 2015, the Government has confirmed that Highways England will look after 4300 miles of the UK’s roads. It is part of a new Road Investment Strategy (RIS) which is aiming to inject £11 billion over five years into our roads network.
Highways England is also planning to spend £5bn on replacing worn out roads and make £1.2bn of savings between now and 2020. Work will include building 1300 miles of extra lanes on the busiest motorways and improvements such as the 1.8-mile tunnel on the A303 beneath Stonehenge in Wiltshire.
FAST FACTS OR SLOW ROAD TO TRAFFIC CHAOS?
• 4 million people travel on the UK’s main roads and motorways every day
• 1 billion tonnes of freight are transported annually
• 430,000 incidents occur annually on our roads
• 98 per cent of UK manufacturers say the roads network is vital for business
• 60 per cent of congestion is caused by a lack of capacity