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UK traffic numbers hits record levels

Date: 12 November 2015   |   Author: Daniel Puddicombe

Vehicle traffic in the UK increased by 2.2% in the year ending September 2015, marking the 10th year of growth, the latest Department for Transport statistics has revealed.

According to the DfT, 316.1 billion miles were accrued on the nation's roads between October 2014 and September 2015. The DfT said this is the highest rolling annual total, 0.6% higher than the peak in the year ending September 2007.

Compared to the previous year, car traffic increased by 1.7% to 247.6 billion vehicle miles, slightly down on the peak level of 248.3 billion vehicle miles in the year ending June 2007.

Van traffic, meanwhile, increased more than any other vehicle type, rising by 6.0% to a peak of 46.9 billion vehicle miles. According to the DfT, the LCV sector has increased its share of traffic by 2.4% compared to 10 years ago.

The DfT's report also stated that LCV traffic has increased by 70.4% in the last 20 years.

Meanwhile, traffic numbers have increased across all road types, with motorway and minor rural road numbers hitting record highs.

Motorway traffic increased by 2.0% from the previous year to 65.4 billion vehicle miles - 43.8% more than 1995's recorded data - while rural road traffic increased by 5.8% to 45.4 billion miles.

Lower fuel prices compared to a year ago may have contributed to the increasing figures. According to the DfT, the typical retail price of premium unleaded petrol was 14.8p/litre cheaper than in September 2014, while the price of diesel fell by 17.1p/litre

"The lower cost of fuel is clearly keeping the country moving with increased vehicle miles going above the pre-recession high. The rise in van traffic and the record level of motorway usage are also significant as they are both very good indicators that 'business Britain' is productive," said RAC head of external affairs Pete Williams.

"What we need now is a firm commitment from the Chancellor in the Autumn Statement that he will not raise fuel duty from the already-excessive 58p a litre and add to the motoring tax burden," he added. "Any increase in fuel duty would have to be seen as an opportunistic step for the Government to cash in on low oil prices which are predicted to stay that way for some time to come."