UK traffic set to increase 50% by 2050

Published: 18 September 2018

UK traffic set to increase 50% by 2050
During the next 35 years, British traffic is predicted to rise by 50%, new research found. Meanwhile, C02 emissions are set to fall by over 80%.

The Department for Transport took a study which researched future traffic congestions, their findings showed that the amount of vehicles on UK roads could increase between 17-50% within the next 35 years (starting in 2015, ending in 2050).

Due to this, UK drivers can anticipate busier roads more often only increasing on a regular basis as time passes and more drivers get their licence. The population increasing could factor into this rise of drivers as well as an increased life expectancy.

This will have an impact on the length of journeys, average speeds are set to fall from 34mph (recorded in 2015) to as low as 31mph. Journeys that were around 17 minutes in length in 2015 could be extended up to 20 minutes by 2050.

The government has set their predictions forward with “scenarios” reminding the public that these are merely predictions and are “fuelled by population growth.”

One of the scenarios speculated that 25% of cars on UK roads would be powered by electricity by 2050 if the UK’s roads standards were to remain as they are in present day. Another anticipated that the declining number of youngsters driving would only increase over time, as well as a high migrant population joining the roads.

Another prediction was that all new vehicles will be fully powered by electricity in 2040, 97% of vehicles with no C02 emissions by 2050. This would in-turn reduce carbon dioxide emissions by a significant amount. Emissions could fall by 80%, but other scenarios suggested a much lower decline around 16%. 

Summarising their research, the DfT stated along with these results came doubts and uncertainty as the country faces big changes in the coming decades. They continued stating it is vital that they figure out what future requirements UK roads may have meaning they can be better prepared for the future. While decisions on local roads will not be made until further analysis has taken place.

 Speaking on the matter the DfT said:
“Understanding future demand for road travel is essential to shape the policies we implement and the investments we make,” the summary read. “However, forecasting future demand is complex and there is significant uncertainty about the extent to which existing trends and relationships will carry on into the future. We will continue to develop our understanding of the uncertainty surrounding the key drivers of demand, the relationship between the drivers and the capability of our models to represent this. And therefore we will review and develop the scenarios used in our strategic forecasts as updated evidence emerges.”
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