British road traffic rises to record 318.5 billion vehicle miles
Traffic on British roads has reached a record high, according to statistics recently published by the Department for Transport (DfT). In the year ending March 2016, 318.5 billion vehicle miles were travelled, a 1.8% rise on the previous year.
The provisional figures show road traffic has risen 1.3% above the previous high, which was set in the year to September 2007, before the financial crash. Car traffic has risen to a record 248.9 billion vehicle miles, and van traffic is rising faster than any other vehicle type, rising 4.1% to 47.3 billion vehicle miles.
According to the Express, these figures show that in the last two decades the number of vehicle miles has increased by 18.3%, with the proportion covered by cars rising 13.2%.
Traffic has increased on all road types, with motorways and rural roads showing record levels. Motorway traffic increased 3.0% to 67.1 billion vehicle miles. The volume of motorway traffic has increased 44.1% in two decades.
On rural routes, traffic has increased by 22.9% on A roads and 23.5% on rural roads, while minor urban roads saw a 5.6% increase and urban A roads saw traffic fall by 0.6%.
The government claims the rise in traffic volumes is due to economic growth and low fuel prices; in the year ending March 2016, premium unleaded petrol was 13.1p per litre cheaper than the previous year, while diesel was 16.9p cheaper.
RAC roads policy spokesman Nick Lyes said: "While traffic has only increased very slightly on the previous year it has taken us to record levels, but the longer-term picture is more concerning, with overall traffic since 1995 growing by 18.6% -- in stark contrast to the overall length of our roads, which has only increased by 2.4%."