Are public transport problems causing more traffic congestion?

There’s no shortage of stories about the poor performance of public transport across the UK. In many instances, this is rail-related, with significant problems like the Northern timetable changes and running problems in the South East causing misery for commuters. But the alternative – travelling by car rather than by train – is causing increased traffic congestion.

Trying to beat congestion

The government’s current road plans are all about reducing congestion, improving journey times and boosting the economy. A recent traffic survey from Highways England, which looked specifically at the current road improvement works in place, found that whilst rush hour journeys had improved, there was actually an increase in overall congestion in many areas. The exact causes are unclear, but they could include the signalling lights introduced as part of the works, and an increased number of vehicles on the road.

A good traffic survey measures volume of traffic and journey times at targeted points of the day. In many cases, this is the ‘rush hour’ which can vary from location to location and includes key congestion times like the school run as well as office hours when workers are travelling. Indeed, in some places, these two busy periods often run into one another, giving a good two-hour period in the morning and evening when the roads are particularly busy. Add in the inevitable road works – either for road improvement or for utility upgrades and repairs or other development work, and mix with unforeseen events like breakdowns or accidents, and it’s easy to see how congestion can quickly build.

The problem with that congestion is not just that it’s frustrating to be sitting in traffic; we are increasingly aware of the considerable damage to air quality that hundreds of idling engines create; and there is also a measurable economic impact for goods not being delivered on time and people being late to their workplace. It all adds up and, despite a significant road improvement programme across the UK, the issue still needs to be tackled.

The value of traffic surveys

Changes need to be made based on up-to-date, relevant data. Road usage changes as new housing or retail developments are built, schools are expanded or road systems change. In order to make the best planning and development decisions, people need the latest data, taken at the right times and at the right places. That’s where a sophisticated traffic survey from Road Data Services can help. To beat congestion, you need to start with the right information – to find out more, contact us today.

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