Roads Will Grind To A Halt As Population Rises

The anticipated growth in population in the UK will lead to traffic volume and delays increase by half, according to a report by the RAC Foundation.

The report says claims there will be at least four million more cars on the UK’s roads in the next twenty-five years as the population grows by a projected ten million.

The RAC said it believed that rise in car numbers would be accompanied by surges in traffic volume and delays on the UK’s roads, which are already the most heavily used in Europe.

In order to tackle the problem, the RAC has called for more investment in roads and transport, despite the Government's reduction in road transport spending because of the recession, while ministers have not explained what plans they have to cope with the bleak picture, the group said.

Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, said: “Forget about Plan B, ministers do not even have a Plan A for dealing with the awful conditions forecast for the roads in the years ahead. It is a case of jams today, and even more jams tomorrow."

The professor said that the Department for Transport’s own figures showed that by 2035 traffic was set to rise by almost 50% and delays by more than 50%, while in some places, at some times of the day, the jams will be many times worse.

Professor Glaister said the impact will be "immense", not just on car drivers but also businesses trying to move their goods about.

“There needs to be a fundamental look at how the strategic and main roads are planned, developed, funded, operated and maintained; how the traffic that uses the road network is managed; and how that use is paid for.

“In the meantime there are scores of relatively small scale road improvement schemes which could be implemented as part of the growth agenda. They would deliver big benefits to significant numbers of people and businesses.

“We are not advocating a massive road building programme – we know we cannot build our way out of the nation’s forecast traffic problems, nor would we want to afford to. But what we do need from government is a clear long-term strategy. The Government’s own forecasts just cannot be ignored.”

According to official figures, the population will rise by more than ten million by 2035 and that based on the current rate of car ownership, there will be four million more cars on the road. This doesn’t take account of the continued growth of car ownership amongst the poorer and older sections of society

Meanwhile, traffic volume will go up by 43% by 2035 and average delays will rise by 54% over the same period.


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