Fleet News

Blanket tolls 'vital' to cut congestion

THE only way to achieve a reduction in traffic is to make drivers pay to use all roads, a major new study has warned.

A three-year survey of congestion on motorways in Yorkshire by consultants on the Government-backed South and West Yorkshire Multi Modal Study looked at congestion on the A1/A1M, M1, M62 and M18 around Sheffield, Doncaster, Leeds and Huddersfield.

It concluded: 'The only effective way of reducing growth in traffic on the motorways and thereby reducing both congestion and the need for extra road capacity is through area-wide road user charging applied to all roads.'

The survey found that cars being driven to, from and for work constituted nearly 70% of all traffic.

The majority of this traffic will be fleet cars, and with only 10% travelling between city centres, public transport is not an option, the study added. Invariably, the costs will be passed on to companies.

The report also recommended widening stretches of the motorways over the next 10-12 years, at a cost of £700 million. Already 36 local authorities are looking at congestion charging schemes in city centres.

The Commission for Integrated Transport has suggested that motorists could pay to use roads on a mile-by-mile basis and that research on the M1, M6 and M25 shows that road charging remains a potential solution.

And Midland Expressway, which holds the concession to build the Birmingham North Relief Road, or M6 Toll, views corporate clients as the ideal customers for the country's first pay-on-use motorway.

Last week in The Observer, transport secretary Alastair Darling ruled out motorway tolling 'for at least a decade' saying that congestion could be reduced through a mix of road and public transport improvements.

But according to Government predictions, by 2010 fleets will be contributing heavily to an estimated annual congestion charging bill of £1.2 billion.

  • The survey is available at www.swymms.org
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