The Freight Transport Association says that the latest Government figures showing a remorseless increase in traffic levels confirm FTA's own research, which forecasts unacceptable congestion on the UK's primary trade routes. FTA says that Government roads policy must address these problems without delay and take urgent steps to provide more capacity by improved traffic management, by widening motorways and by building new roads. Failure to do so will place massive burdens on the UK supply chain.
The traffic figures published by the Government yesterday (16 January) echo the findings of FTA's Freight Future study carried out in 2005. Traffic growth since 1997, and forecast on to 2015, is the result of increased car use rather than HGV movements. Historically, freight traffic grew at about the same rate as the economy. However, from 1996 this link has been broken as a result of improvements in transport efficiency, an increase in van traffic, more foreign vehicles and an uptake of rail freight.
Traffic congestion impacts on all of its victims, whether private cars or commercial vehicles and FTA is concerned by the inevitable increase in costs, loss of journey time reliability and environmental impact if the problem is not overcome.
FTA's Director of External Affairs, Geoff Dossetter said, 'The Government must not ignore these trends, presently estimated to be wasting the economy over £20 billion every year. FTA's forecasts for traffic growth between now and 2015, when the proposals from the Eddington Report begin to be actioned, show single figure percentage increases for HGVs, whilst car traffic will go up by as much as 41 per cent (on the M2).
'FTA's concern is that growth in car traffic on the key trade routes will severely inhibit supply chain efficiency, increasing costs and reducing service levels. The supply chain delivers almost everything we use or consume every day and the roads network is a fundamental ingredient in making those deliveries work, to the benefit of the whole population.
'FTA recently welcomed the Department for Transport publication 'Towards a Sustainable Transport System' which detailed plans for dealing with road, rail and port congestion. However, FTA said that immediate action is required rather than waiting until 2015.
'The latest publication of traffic figures confirms that there is not a moment to lose and we must take action without delay.'