Traffic on the up as economy recovers

Traffic volumes across all vehicle types have increased in the UK in comparison to last year’s totals, according to the latest figures released by the Department for Transport.

The DfT’s recent Quarterly Road Traffic Estimates for the period of July-September 2014 showed all motor vehicle traffic has risen by 2.2 per cent to 77.9 billion vehicle miles compared to the same quarter in 2013 – which represents the highest quarterly total recorded since 2008.

The government said GDP increased over Quarter 3, 2014 as the four key industrial groupings within the economy (services, production, construction and agriculture) indicated increases in output.

This, it said, was likely to be contributing to the continued upward trend in traffic volumes. The report showed HGV traffic in the quarter undertook 4.0 billion vehicle miles, which is up 2.2 per cent over the same period last year, and up 1.1 per cent compared to the previous quarter in 2014.

Car traffic increased by 1.4 per cent, while LGV traffic continued to rise at a higher rate than any other vehicle type, posting an increase of 6.9 per cent over the quarter.

All road classes experienced higher volumes of traffic, with the largest increases occurring on urban minor roads (3.5 per cent).

Meanwhile, traffic on motorways in the UK increased from 15.9 billion vehicle miles in Quarter 3, 2013 to 16.3 billion vehicle miles in Quarter 3, 2014, representing growth of 2.3 per cent. According to the DfT, motorway traffic has increased by more than 47 per cent over a 20-year period since 1994.

“There is a clear link between economic growth and the level of traffic on our roads, and as such, the steady 2.2 per cent annual increase in HGV journeys points to an encouraging rise in economic activity,” RAC business services spokesman, Simon Williams, told Trucking.

“If the wider economic recovery continues at this pace, we’d expect to see increased levels of trade – and that translates into more vehicles on our roads.

“This is good news for UK business in general and particularly for the transport and distribution industry. “In addition, the reduction in fuel prices over recent months has also benefited the trucking sector, as it is now more cost-effective to transport goods by road across the country.”