Congestion on the Road Network Costs Industry Billions

21 July 2013               

There are some interesting forecasts in the Jul/Aug 2013 edition of FREIGHT, the Freight Transport Association's magazine, a summary of which says:

Efficient and effective infrastructure networks are essential to the functioning of the UK economy.  The ongoing difficult economic conditions have, to some extent, masked the impact of congestion and unrelaibility.  Congestion has a negative impact on UK businesses' international competitiveness making logistics operations less efficient through longer journey times and unforeseen delays.

The Department for Transport's National Transport Model Road Transport Forecasts show:

  • overall traffic in England is forecast to grow by 44% between 2010 and 2035,
  • as traffic demand increases, congestion is also forecast to rise, with seconds per mile lost due to congestion rising from 19.2 seconds in 2010 to 32.3 sconds in 2035, an increase of 68%,
  • congestion already costs the UK economy £8billion each year and, without measures to tackle this, the figure could rise to £22billion a year by 2025,
  • journey times are also forecast to increase, with an average mile taking around one minute 54 seconds in 2010, but two minutes six seconds in 2035.

FTA has calculated that delays on the road network cost the logistics industry £483,161 per minute (based on all commercial vehicles delayed for one minute).  The cost alone for fuel for each minute a typical HGV is delayed is 4 pence.

Long-term projections of traffic across all modes, but on the road network in particular, suggest that demand is set to increase steadily as the UK's population continues to rise, personal mobility increases, and the freight demand responds to economic growth and growing levels of world trade.

Nick Radcliffe, MD of FreightArranger says: “For years the UK has been investing in its road infrastructure but these figures show that it still won’t be enough unless we change the way we approach logistics. We are expecting to see a real resurgence in the importance of rail freight, and are currently offering opportunities for forwarders to take part in our open trials."