Traffic levels continue to soar – but delays ease slightly

12.00 | 14 September 2017 | | 4 comments

Provisional estimates show that motor vehicle traffic in Great Britain was at a record high in the year ending June 2017.

Published by the DfT today (14 Sept), the provisional figure of 325.1bn vehicle miles travelled equates to a year-on-year rise of 1.4%.

The figure also means rolling annual traffic levels have now increased each quarter in succession for more than four years.

Looking at vehicle type, car traffic increased by 1.3% to a record 253.5bn vehicle miles in the year ending June 2017.

Van traffic also continued to rise, increasing by 3.6% to a new peak of 49.8bn vehicle miles. However, lorry traffic fell by 1.5% to 16.5bn vehicle miles.

Traffic rose on all road types apart from urban ‘A’ roads where it stayed broadly stable. Record levels of traffic were seen on motorways (68bn vehicle miles), rural ‘A’ roads (94.5bn miles) and rural minor roads (46bn miles).

However despite these rises in traffic levels, new figures also published by the DfT today show a small reduction in delays on the Strategic Road Network (SRN).

The figures show that between July 2016 and June 2017 the ‘average delay’ on the SRN decreased by 0.1 seconds per vehicle per mile (1.5%), and is now estimated to be 8.9 seconds per vehicle per mile compared to ‘free flow’.

The average vehicle speed also rose slightly by 0.5%, up to 59.5mph.

However, the figures are not all positive, with average delays on local ‘A’ roads increasing by 1.0 seconds per vehicle per mile (2.2%); while average speeds on local ‘A’ roads fell slightly, down 0.5% to 25.2 mph.

Category: Statistics & data.



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    Whereas ‘soaring’ does have some scientific or mathematical justification Nadeem? I was actually criticising the media use of hyperbole to make an unexciting fact seem significant. ‘Whopping’ is another word similarly used.

    Hugh Jones, Cheshire
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    The year on year rises are significant. From the figures I have seen normalising collisions by distance travelled increases of 1 to 1.5% can have a bigger impact on exposure to risk than you might think. Simply dismissing 1.4% as ‘very small’ or ‘negligible’ has no scientific or mathematical justification!

    Nadeem Up North
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    An increase in anything of 1.4% is not ‘soaring’ – more like ‘a very small’ rise or even a ‘negligible’ rise. Also, I presume the average speed mentioned in the penultimate para is on motorways and not across all the roads measured!

    Hugh Jones, Cheshire
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    So more miles driven, but is that more vehicles doing shorter journeys or less vehicles doing longer journeys? Where is the figure for increased mileage of available road as this would also affect the delays etc? Read into the stats as you will but give us the whole picture please?

    Peter City of Westminster
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