Gridlock UK : Britons waste up to six minutes per mile in traffic jams as congestion hits all-time highsMon, 27/11/2017
No-one likes being stuck in traffic, not even if you have an excellent playlist or your favourite DJ is on the radio. It’s a time-consuming fact of driving, and apparently traffic jams are at an all-time high.
James Salmon, The Daily Mail, reports:
Drivers are suffering delays of up to six minutes every mile as congestion hits all-time highs.
Soaring numbers of vans delivering online purchases have contributed to gridlock across the country.
Drivers travelled a record 324billion miles last year – up 2.2 per cent in 12 months.
And the official figures published yesterday show they faced an average delay of a miserable 46 seconds every mile.
In urban areas the delays are much worse – in the City of London drivers suffer hold-ups of 348 seconds a mile, almost six minutes.
The average speed in the Square Mile in 2016 was 6.9mph compared with 8.1mph the year before, the Department for Transport said.
Experts blamed the jams on decades of underinvestment and said productivity was being hit. One report said congestion on motorways and A-roads costs the economy £9billion a year.
Philip Hammond boasted in his Budget speech on Wednesday of presiding over the largest road-building plan since the 1970s.
But Jack Cousens of the AA highlighted the Chancellor’s failure to announce any major new funding.
‘With more vehicles on the roads than ever before, and drivers growing increasingly frustrated by traffic jams, we are on the road to gridlock Britain,’ he said.
‘Despite all the talk and investment surrounding high-speed rail and alternative modes of transport, road travel, especially car, continues to be far and away the most favoured mode of transport.
‘An average 45.9 second per mile delay on local A-roads shows that significant investment is needed to help traffic flow, in order to deliver goods and services.’
The official figures show that drivers suffer stop-start journeys in every English region, including the South West, the South East and the East and West Midlands.
Average delays in Slough jumped 13 per cent to 113 seconds a mile and they were up 21 per cent to 41 seconds a mile in North Tyneside and up 24 per cent to 33 seconds in Halton, Cheshire.
‘Motorists often feel hard done by and you can see from these figures they have a point,’ said Julian Knight, Tory MP for Solihull in the West Midlands.
‘It’s time for policy makers and councils to put motorists at the centre of their thinking. We’ve got to get Britain moving again. Local councils and utility providers need to avoid unnecessary roadworks. But when roadworks are needed they need to be done as a matter of priority to get the traffic moving.’
Experts say the boom in internet shopping – led by Amazon and the big supermarkets – has contributed to van traffic growing faster than any other category. The vehicles clocked up 49billion miles last year, up 5 per cent on 2015.
The Government says it is investing a record £23billion in improving roads.
But it came under fire last month when ministers announced that 22 congestion-busting schemes would be scrapped or delayed.
They included four separate upgrades to the M25. Six more schemes are being reassessed because of concerns about value for money while ten are due to start earlier than planned.
Buses were the only form of traffic in decline – with the number of vehicle miles falling 8 per cent to 2billion.
Rod Dennis of the RAC said: ‘If the crumbling state of many of the UK’s local roads wasn’t bad enough, these statistics show drivers also have to contend with chronic congestion – confirming that much of the pleasure of driving has perhaps been lost in 2017.’
Steve Double, a Labour member of the Commons transport committee, said: ‘The increase in traffic has been building for many years. This is one factor that is hindering an increase in productivity that is a major problem in this country.
‘We need more investment in public transport to get cars off the road and continued investment in the highways.’
A spokesman for the Department for Transport said: ‘We are taking the big decisions for Britain’s future and investing a record £23billion on our roads.
‘Vehicles have clocked up a record number of miles in the last year, which is good news for British industry and our economy as a whole.
‘We are giving councils record amounts of capital funding – more than £7.1billion up to 2021. This will help to upgrade and maintain local roads.
In his Budget Mr Hammond said ‘productivity performance continues to disappoint’. He has said it takes UK workers five days to produce what Germans make in four.
With no signs of traffic easing, it looks as though congestions is due to rise, potentially gridlocking Britain and causing even more delays.