A total of 317.8bn miles were travelled by vehicles on the UK road network during 2015, a year-on-year rise of 2.2% and the highest level ever recorded.
The figures, published in the DfT’s Provisional Road Traffic Estimates, Great Britain: 2015, show that traffic is now 1.1% above the pre-recession peak in 2007.
248.6bn miles were travelled by car. That equates to 78% of the total miles and is a 1.7% increase on 2014. 47.7bn miles were made by LGVs (up 6.1%) while 16.2bn miles were covered by HGVs (up 1.1%).
Longer term trends show LGV traffic is on the rise, while the number miles covered by HGVs continues to decline. Since 2007, LGV traffic has grown by 18.5% while HGV traffic has decreased by 9.7%.
All road classes experienced a rise in traffic levels, apart from urban ‘A’ road traffic which remained at the same level. Traffic levels on motorways (65.8bn miles – up 2.4%) reached a new high.
In line with the increase in traffic levels, there was a decrease in average vehicle speeds and a rise in congestion levels. Average speed on local ‘A’ roads in England during the weekday morning peak was 23.4 mph, a 2.9% year-on-year decrease.
With regard to casualties, DfT figures published earlier this month show that for the 12-month period ending September 2015, there were 1,780 road deaths, an increase of 3% in comparison to the year ending September 2014. In the same period there were 23,700 killed or seriously injured (KSI) casualties and 188,830 casualties of all severities (both down 3% year-on-year).
Figures to September 2015 also show there were a record 36.5m vehicles licensed for use, a 1.8% increase from the previous year. There are now 2.2m more vehicles licensed for use that in the first quarter of 2007.
Photo: Highways England via Flickr used under Creative Commons