According to a new report by transport data company Inrix, British drivers faced 1.35 million traffic jams in the past year, meaning that around £9bn was lost in wasted time, fuel and unnecessary carbon emissions.
The Telegraph reports that analysis of queues during the 12 months to August found that November 2016 was the worst, with almost 170,000 traffic jams. Inrix said that there were many factors that might influence, but cited particularly cold weather as being one that stuck out for that month in particular.
What to do? Transport minister Jesse Norman – who wrote to cycling organisations last month asking them to instruct their members to follow the Highway Code – has an idea. He has apparently written to Highways England suggesting that slip roads be used as contraflows to relieve the pressure on overloaded motorways.
Referring to an incident on the M3, he wrote: “A particular feature shown in the media was the availability of empty slip roads, and I would be interested to know whether you considered if these could be used as contraflow to move traffic off the motorway.”
Earlier this year, a study into the economic benefits of road building found that any respite from congestion provided by a new or widened road is temporary. The Impact of Road Projects in England report, produced for the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), said that road building and associated development generates more traffic, which in turn creates pressure for more road building.
Last week a report produced by Centre for London recommended that urban motorists give up residential car parking to make more space for other forms of transport. Citing rising congestion and pollution, the think tank suggested that greater emphasis needed to be placed on trains, buses and bikes and advocated reallocation of space to create more segregated cycle lanes and priority bus lanes.