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Car and van traffic hit all-time high

New Department for Transport Road Traffic Estimates show road traffic in Great Britain rose last year with car and van traffic both hitting all-time highs.

A total of 328.1 billion miles were driven on Great Britain’s roads in 2018, a 0.3% on the previous year.

Car and taxi traffic was up by 0.2% compared to 2017, with the figure of 255.0 billion vehicle miles (bvm) marking the highest annual estimate ever of car traffic.

However, the highest growth in percentage terms was seen by van traffic, which rose 0.9% to reach a record high of 51.0 billion vehicle miles, despite a slowdown in growth in the last few years.

Lorry traffic remained broadly stable, increasing by 0.3% compared to 2017. Meanwhile bus and coach traffic fell by 4.7% between 2017 and 2018 – the largest decrease of any vehicle type and similar to the trend seen in recent years – and is also down by 20.0% from 1993.

Meanwhile cycling miles were up 1.8% on 2017, and over a third (33.7%) more than 25 years ago.

Commenting on the figures, RAC head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes said the continued decline in the number of miles travelled by buses and coaches was “particularly worrying in an age when, as a society, we are trying to get people to use public transport more”.

He added that the all-time high in car traffic and use of the Strategic Road Network – which now carries more than a third of all motorised traffic in England despite only accounting for 2.4% of all roads – highlights just how valuable the network is to the economy.

“This also serves to emphasise just how important the Government’s promised Road Investment Strategy and ringfenced funding will be in providing extra capacity and more reliable journeys,” he added.

Written by Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for nearly 20 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.

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