UK road traffic reaches record highs

Published: 13 February 2017

Statistics released from the DfT show that traffic on UK roads has reached record highs. This will alarm haulage operators in the UK and has sparked concern from road safety charity Brake.
The statistics show that there were 320.5 billion vehicle miles travelled on the UK’s roads in 2016. This is a 1.2% increase on the previous year and is now at a record high. Vehicle movements have now increased each quarter in succession over the last 3 years and has no signs of slowing down.
Looking closer at the figures we can see that car traffic increased by 0.7% to a record high of 249.5 billion miles, HGV movements increased by 2.8% to 17.1 billion miles and van traffic increased by 3.4% to a new high of 48.5 billion miles. The figures suggest the increase in vehicle miles is partly due to the growth in the economy as well as lower fuel costs.
Road safety charity Brake say that these figures ‘give cause for alarm’ as Gary Rae, campaigns director, commented:
“These rises are not sustainable. Provisional estimates suggest that both ‘A’ roads and motorways experienced the highest level of vehicle traffic recorded; motorway traffic increased by 2.1% to 67.9 billion vehicle miles in 2016, continuing a long-term trend of increasing motorway traffic over the past six years.
“The figures are heading the wrong way and we’re heading for gridlock. The government needs to get a grip and outline what it intends to do. Back in 2015 we highlighted the lethal consequences of too many vehicles on our roads. The situation is becoming markedly worse”. company director Richard Newbold commented that more needs to be done to decrease the amount of empty miles that are being travelled by both HGVs and Vans. 
In 2016 the freight exchange helped connect hauliers with empty vehicles with goods that needed delivering resulting in a reduction of empty HGV miles by 16.5 million miles.
If the same model could be rolled out to more transport companies less vehicles would be needed and the reduction of empty miles would increase.
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