Majority of UK drivers think traffic is worsening

The 2017 RAC Report on Motoring has revealed that one half of UK drivers believe traffic on major roads has increased.

Of the 1,727 drivers questioned over traffic levels on motorways, A-roads and high-speed dual carriageways, 56 per cent were convinced congestion had worsened. Approximately 65 per cent of vehicle miles are driven on these types of road.

Specifically, 61 per cent of respondents claimed that journey times had increased on motorways – which carry 21 per cent of UK traffic despite accounting for just one per cent of the network.

Government figures estimate that 252.6 billion vehicle miles were driven in 2016 – a 2.2 per cent increase on the previous year. The RAC says it is vital that proposals included in the second Road Investment Strategy tackle the most congested stretches of the network.

David Bizley, RAC’s chief engineer, said: “We believe tackling congestion in the UK’s towns and cities can make an important contribution to improving air quality. The RAC urges local authorities to consider all possible measures – including better traffic light sequencing and installing speed cushions for traffic calming in preference to speed humps – to improve urban traffic flow and average speeds.”

Cllr Martin Tett, Local Government Association Transport spokesman, said: “This survey highlights the congestion challenge we face as a nation. Congestion can have a significant impact on our towns, cities and communities, and act as a drag on local growth. Worse still, it can lead to toxic air and reduced quality of life.

“The average motorist is spending a working week every year sat in traffic on major roads, and losing almost a £1,000 in the process. With eight-and-a-half million more vehicles on our roads since 2000, it’s no wonder it would now take £12 billion and a decade to clear the nation’s road repair backlog. Councils are working hard to combat traffic and congestion but need to be able to do more to tackle this growing problem. Long-term, consistent funding is needed for them to invest in local roads and introduce attractive alternatives to car journeys, such as through public transport, walking and cycling.”