Major roads in UK are getting ‘more congested’
Many blame bus lanes and cycle lanes for adding to the misery in our towns and cities.
The RAC Report on Motoring revealed that 56 per cent of the 1,727 drivers questioned said traffic has got worse on motorways, high-speed dual carriageways and A-roads.
Though these roads make up just 13 per cent of the network they account for 65 per cent of all the miles travelled in the UK.
And motorways fared worst of all with 61 per cent saying congestion and journey times have worsened in the last 12 months.
It is essential that the schemes to increase capacity of the strategic road network
Only country B-roads and unclassified country roads have not got any worse with 58 per cent saying the traffic levels are the same and just under a third (32 per cent) that they had increased.
Earlier this year transport analysts Infix put the annual bill to the UK economy of congestion at £30 billion or nearly £1,000 for every motorist.
Drivers blame the longer journeys on an increase in traffic but in urban areas nearly half blame bus and cycle lanes for congestion.
Nearly one in three drivers thought bus lanes made jams worse while 16 per cent cited cycle lanes.
Motorways fared worst of all
But on motorways roughly half said the blame for congestion lay with roadworks or middle-lane joggers and 40 per cent complained about lorries overtaking other lorries.
Many want tighter controls on lorries overtaking other lorries because they can take so long and cause a ripple effect of congestion for miles down a motorway.
The perception of heaver traffic tallies with government statistics which found that last year drivers drove a record 252.6billion vehicle miles, a 2.2 per cent increase on the previous year
RAC chief engineer David Bizley said: “With unwelcome evidence of increased congestion, it is essential that the schemes to increase capacity of the strategic road network which form part of the first Road Investment Strategy are delivered to plan.
“The recent news from Highways England that some projects have been delayed is therefore very unwelcome. “With work well advanced on development of the second Road Investment Strategy which will be implemented from 2020/21, it is vital that proposals are included to debottleneck the most congested stretches of the network which were not included in the first Road Investment Strategy.
“We also 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.”
The Local Government Association, whose members look after some major roads, said councils need more money to tackle congestion.
Half said the blame for congestion lay with roadworks or middle-lane joggers
LGA Transport spokesman, Councillor Martin Tett, 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.
It can lead to toxic air and reduced quality of life
“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.”