Traffic levels continue to rise as new records set

12.00 | 19 May 2017 |

The year ending March 2017 saw a record number of vehicle miles travelled across Great Britain, largely down to a rise in car and van traffic – both of which also climbed to new highs.

Published by the DfT yesterday (18 May), the overall figure of 324.3bn miles represents a year-on-year increase of 1.7% and is also 3.2% above the 2007 pre-recession peak.

Car traffic increased by 1.4% to a record 252.9bn vehicle miles, while van traffic rose by 4.5% to a new peak of 49.6bn vehicle miles.

However, there was a slight fall in the number of HGV vehicle miles (down 0.8% to 16.6bn vehicle miles), while ‘other’ forms of transport, including motorcycles, fell by 4.4% to 5.2bn vehicle miles.

In terms of road type, rural ‘A’ roads continue to be the most used (94.3bn miles) and experienced the most growth (up 2.4% year-on-year). All other road types also experienced significant growth, other than urban ‘A’ roads, which experienced a 0.2% fall.

Vehicle miles (bn) by road type

  • Rural A – 94.3 (up 2.4%)
  • Motorway – 67.7 (up 1%)
  • Urban minor – 66.6 (up 2.1%)
  • Urban A – 49.9 (down 0.2%)
  • Rural Minor – 45.7 (up 2.3%)

Putting these figures into context, there were 37.3m vehicles licensed for use as of December 2016, a 2.2% year-on-year rise.

The average speed on local ‘A’ roads in England for the year ending March 2017 was 25.2mph, down 1% from the year ending March 2016.

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