Accurate traffic surveys could help reduce business losses

A huge amount of money is lost by UK businesses every year because of congestion on the roads, according to research by a specialist vehicle hire company.

Northgate Vehicle Hire found that most congestion occurred because of temporary speed limits or long-standing roadworks; either by utility companies or highways agencies. It’s thought that drivers spend around 32 hours per year on average in traffic jams, and those who drive for a living, like road haulage workers or delivery drivers, spend considerably more time at a standstill.

At the same time, our roads are expected to bear the burden of more traffic, with government figures suggesting that traffic levels could increase by more than 50% in the next 20 years. Even with the advent of electric vehicles, which will certainly reduce pollution levels, the weight of traffic on UK roads is only going to grow – and the road infrastructure must be able to handle it.

How can traffic surveys help?

Understanding how traffic uses the road system gives decision makers clear and reliable information on which to make plans for the future. Both traffic surveys, automatic traffic counts and journey time surveys provide valuable data that lets highways specialists see which times and routes are the busiest. This in turn will help to inform decisions on roads that need widening, on traffic calming or traffic management measures. It can also help when agencies are planning roadworks or repairs – all too often work is being carried out on major routes at the same time, meaning that there is no easy route for traffic in the area.

Congestion has a quantifiable knock-on effect to local economies. In Belfast, for example, it’s estimated that businesses lost 24 working days per vehicle per year to congestion in 2015, at a financial cost of around £12.6 billion. This, in just one of the UK’s main cities, shows just how much productivity is lost to traffic congestion and how improving the road network and planning ahead for activities that regularly cause traffic problems could help to improve local economies.

Traffic surveys from RDS

At Road Data Services we specialise in a range of dedicated road, traffic, journey and pedestrian surveys which collect accurate, reliable data. We use a range of methods and supply data in whichever format is best for you, giving you the information you need to make informed decisions about road changes, traffic management, access to new developments and much more.


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