Average traffic speeds fall to below 10mph as congestion rises
A new report out today from sustainable transport group Greener Journeys claims road congestion in the UK is a ‘disease’ that has forced bus journey times up by 10% per decade at a cost of 5,000 jobs per year.
According to The Impact of Congestion on Bus Passengers, the problem looks set to grow with the continued rise in online shopping deliveries and a surge in Uber drivers. Traffic on our roads is expected to rise by 55% by 2040 with traffic volume reaching saturation point in cities like London, Manchester and Bristol.
Buses, which have been hit the hardest, carry more commuters than all other forms of public transport combined, generating around £64bn per year for local economies, and helping people access employment, education, shops and vital services.
In London, where planned roadworks have increased by 362% in three years, bus speeds on some routes have fallen so dramatically that it is almost quicker to walk than take the bus. The independent report found that if journey times continue to decline at their current rate, bus passenger numbers will drop by between 10% and 14% every 10 years, putting the future of the bus sector under threat.
However, it believes that official targets for average bus speeds and the early introduction of contactless payments could help to tackle ease congestion. Other suggestions include charging van drivers making deliveries during peak hours, introducing more road schemes such as bus lanes, and encouraging bus companies to provide more up-to-date travel information for passengers
Claire Haigh, Chief Executive of Greener Journeys, said: “This report highlights the shocking growth in congestion blighting major cities across Britain, and particularly the heavy toll it is taking on the bus sector which is vital to our economy and our society.
“A fully loaded double decker bus can take 75 cars off the road. Giving buses more priority on the roads and introducing contactless payments would make journeys faster and more reliable, encouraging more people to leave their cars at home and easing traffic to benefit all road users.”