The latest provisional figures from the Department for Transport show that motor vehicle traffic has reached a record high, and road safety charity Brake has warned that Britain is heading for ‘gridlock’.

In the year ending December 2016 car traffic increased by 0.7 per cent to a record high of 249.5 billion vehicle miles and HGV traffic grew by 2.8 per cent overall to 17.1 billion vehicle miles.
The report suggests that this rise is partly due to the growth in the economy as well as lower fuel prices.

The figures should “give cause for alarm”, said Gary Rae, Brake’s campaigns director.

He said: “These rises are not sustainable. Provisional estimates suggest that both ‘A’ roads and motorways experienced the highest level of vehicle traffic recorded; motorway traffic increased by 2.1% to 67.9 billion vehicle miles in 2016, continuing a long-term trend of increasing motorway traffic over the past six years.

“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. Back in 2015, during Road Safety Week, we highlighted the lethal consequences of too many vehicles on our roads. The situation is becoming markedly worse”.

The provisional figures showed that 320.5 billion vehicle miles were travelled on Great Britain’s roads in the year ending December 2016, a figure 1.2% higher than 2015 and 2% higher than the pre-recession peak in the year ending September 2007.

Rolling annual motor vehicle traffic has now increased each quarter in succession for over three years.