'Gridlock' warning as traffic hits record high

'Gridlock' warning as traffic hits record high

Britain is heading for "gridlock" as traffic continues to cause misery for motorists, warns a road safety charity.

Figures from the Department for Transport show 316.1 billion miles of vehicle traffic were recorded in the 12 months to September - up by 2.2% on the previous year, and 0.6% higher than the previous peak in September 2007.

Van traffic increased at the fastest rate, up by 6% to a new peak of 46.9 billion miles, while motorway traffic also reached a record high of 65.4 billion miles after a 2% increase.

The increase in traffic meant vehicle speeds continued to fall during the morning peak. The average speed on A roads in England between 7am and 10am was 23.6mph in the year to September, down by 0.5% on the 12 months to June.

Gary Rae, campaigns director for road safety charity Brake, said: "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."

RAC head of external affairs Pete Williams agrees something needs to be done sooner rather than later.

"It is absolutely critical that the investment into A-roads and the wider Strategic Network is protected and for the Government to push ahead with identifying key pinch points for a second road investment strategy," he said.

"Motorists will be unforgiving should they not start to see genuine improvements in journey times over the next five years given the eye-watering sums they pay in taxation."

Fuel prices are now more favourable for motorists, something Mr Williams believes has contributed to the high level of traffic.

"The lower cost of fuel is clearly keeping the country moving," he added. "What we need now is a firm commitment from the Chancellor in the Autumn Statement that he will not raise fuel duty from the already-excessive 58p a litre and add to the motoring tax burden."

Motoring News articles do not reflect the RAC's views unless clearly stated.

Copyright Press Association 2015