Fleet News

More cars but road investment falling

MOTORISTS have paid more than £400 billion in taxes over the past decade but the ‘miniscule’ amount spent on the road network has resulted in the UK having the most congested motorways in Europe, a pressure group claims.

In its Road File 2006/07, the Road Users’ Association (RUA) claims road improvements are at a virtual standstill while the number of cars on the roads has increased by more than a third over the past 10 years.

Director Tim Green said: ‘Despite pledges from the Government, investment in road infrastructure is failing even to reach the levels of a decade ago.

‘With traffic increases exceeding 30% on some stretches of the network, we cannot expect to resolve the worst congestion in Europe without carrying out vital road improvements.’

He added: ‘Road users have paid for these improvements many times over.

‘Gaps in our ageing strategic road network, where motorways and dual carriageways dwindle to a single lane, are choking our villages and threaten to exclude whole regions of the country from the fair distribution of wealth, social and economic progress that depend on efficient transport links.’

The report suggests that for the size of its economy, the UK has significantly fewer miles of motorway than its European economic counterparts.

‘All the cars in Britain would have to be piled six high in order to fit onto the motorway network at the same time,’ it says.

It adds that motorways represent a tiny proportion of the road network but are five times safer than single carriageways.

The report also looks at the environmental impact of congestion saying: ‘Free-flowing traffic would help considerably to reduce the emissions from motor transport. Traffic travelling at 50mph produces half the emissions of congested traffic moving at 5mph.’

  • Copies of the Road Users’ Association’s Road File 2006/07 can be downloaded from the website www.rua.org.uk.

    Road file report

  • Despite carrying 20% of traffic, motorways make up less than 1% of the road network.
  • Traffic on major roads has increased by almost 20% over the past decade.
  • The north-east has the shortest length of motorway in the country – with just 36 miles to cater for the whole region. The north-west has 396 miles of motorway.
  • UK car ownership is still low, ranking eighth in Europe.
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