Traffic volume falls for third consecutive year

12.40 | 19 December 2011 | | 2 comments

The volume of motor traffic in the UK has fallen for the third year in a row, according to new figures published by the DfT.

‘Transport Statistics Great Britain: 2011’ reveals that in 2010 traffic on Britain’s roads amounted to 308.1 billion miles; a 1.6% decline on 2009.

This follows a 1% year on year fall between 2008 and 2009, and a 0.8% fall between 2007 and 2008. This is the first time motor vehicle traffic has fallen for three consecutive years since records began in 1949.

The fall has been attributed to lower levels of car use, with a 2.1% year on year reduction. HGV and light van traffic, however, both registered a slight increase on 2009 levels.

Talking to the Daily Mail, Luke Bosdet, AA spokesperson, said: “People are being priced off the roads, and it is those on low incomes and those in rural areas who are worst affected.

“There is a real danger that motoring is being wound back to the 1960s and 70s, when it was by and large the preserve of the middle classes. Ministers need to read the runes and take action.”

However, the DfT’s National Transport Model suggests that the reduction is only a temporary trend, with a predicted 43% rise between 2003 and 2043. In the same period light van traffic is predicted to rise by 103%.

Click here to read the full DfT report.


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    The unit is misquoted; 308.1 billion miles is a distance. The unit is “vehicle miles”, which is (I am assured) a volume – but I’m beginning to wonder whether it’s really a density of some sort! It’s late … is there a real expert out there, somewhere?

    Andrew Fraser, Stirling
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    Whilst I cannot agree or disagree with the fugures or stats in this report I just have to jump in and say that there would be a great saving made throughout the land if the school run was done other than in a motor car.

    During holiday times in the year it’s amazing how some 90% of the vehicular traffic ceases to exist.

    When schools are in again the traffic becomes diabolical again and the drivers do stupid things, double parking, stopping on pedestrian crossings and not for persons to cross, stopping on school zig zags. leaving engines running whilst out of the car. It’s a nightmare, twice daily.

    And to my understanding the majority of kids live within 2 miles of the school, something that can in most cases be walked in 15/20 mins.

    Just think of the savings in monies and greenhouse gasses if school traffic was reduced, plus the added benefit of fewer accidents [cycles for an example].

    bob craven
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