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26 Jul 2007

(DFT) Road Statistics 2006

The Department for Transport has today published the statistical bulletin Road Statistics 2006: Traffic, Speeds and Congestion. This bulletin includes the first release of National Statistics on 2006 Road Traffic in Great Britain and the 2006 Urban-Areas Speed Survey. The bulletin also includes further information on Free-Flow Vehicle Speeds (first results were published in April), historic inter-urban speed survey results and experimental congestion statistics.

The bulletin provides a detailed breakdown of statistics related to traffic, speeds and congestion. Key results include:

Road Traffic in Great Britain

* Between 2005 and 2006, estimated traffic levels rose by 7 billion vehicle kilometres (1.4 per cent) to 506 billion vehicle kilometres. This is the first year that total estimated traffic in Great Britain has exceeded 500 billion vehicle kilometres.

* Car traffic (402.4 billion vehicle kilometres) accounted for 79 per cent of all motor vehicle traffic. Car traffic has increased by 1.3 per cent over the past year, 12 per cent since 1996 and 851 per cent since 1955.

* Light van traffic has shown the greatest growth in recent years, increasing by 39 per cent since 1996.

* Pedal cycle traffic was estimated to be 4.6 billion vehicle kilometres in 2006, an increase of 5 per cent from 2005.

* In 2006, 28 per cent of all traffic was on rural 'A' roads, 22 per cent was on urban minor roads, 20 per cent on motorways, 16 per cent on urban 'A' roads and 14 per cent on rural minor roads.

* Traffic on motorways has grown faster (27 per cent) over the last ten years than on any other road type. Urban 'A' roads have shown the slowest traffic growth since 1996, increasing by only 2 per cent over this time.

* Overall, traffic was higher on weekdays than at weekends; the highest level of traffic occurs on Friday and the lowest on Sunday.

Free Flow Vehicle Speeds in Great Britain

* The average free flow speed of cars in 2006 on 40 mph limit roads was 36 mph and on roads with a 30 mph limit the average speed was 30 mph.

* The percentage of vehicles that exceed the speed limit on 30 mph roads has fallen over the last 10 years. The proportion of cars exceeding the speed limit in 1996 was almost three quarters; in 2006 this figure had fallen to a half.

Congestion and Traffic Speeds on the Inter-Urban Road Network

* Average vehicle delay on the slowest 10% of journeys, used to measure the DfT PSA 1 target, has risen from 3.78 to 4.11 minutes per 10 miles between the baseline year (August 2004 - July 2005) and the latest year (May 2006 - April 2007), an increase of 8.7 per cent.

* This is equivalent to average journey time on the slowest 10% of journeys having risen from 13.4 to 13.7 minutes per 10 miles, an increase of 2.5 per cent.

* During the morning peak, the average vehicle delay on the slowest 10% of journeys generally declined as the week progressed. The opposite effect occurred for the evening peak.

* The highest evening peak delays on weekdays for the slowest 10% of journeys were experienced on Fridays. By 14:00 on Fridays, congestion is at about the same level as in the morning peak on Wednesdays.

Congestion and Traffic Speeds in English Urban Areas

* The average traffic speed across the major road network of the largest 18 urban areas in England, excluding London, in 2006 was 17.8 mph during the peak periods and 21.6 mph during off-peak periods.

* Like-for-like peak speed across all these areas in 2006 was virtually unchanged from 2004. Average off-peak speed fell from 25.2 mph in 2004 to 24.1 mph in 2006, a fall of 4 per cent.

* Of the 18 largest urban areas in England, excluding London, average peak speeds were lowest in Leicester, Bristol and Southampton. Off-peak speeds were also low in Leicester and Bristol, with Blackpool also having a relatively low average off-peak speed.