Traffic Volume (Department for Transport, February 2015)
Road traffic statistics recently released by the Department for Transport cover the period 1949 to 2014.
As would be expected over this broad, 65 year period, the figure for the total number of vehicles has risen from 28.9 billion vehicle miles in 1949, to 310.2 billion vehicle miles in 2014.
However, although the figures for cars and taxis has risen year after year (from an initial 12.6 billion vehicle miles in 1949, to 243.7 billion vehicle miles in 2014), not all classes of vehicles have seen a steadily rising total over time.
For example, the vehicle miles of motorcycles peaked at 6.2 billion in 1960, but has most recently fallen to less than 3 billion.
In a related Department of Transport survey, traffic volume is presented by road class in figures which date back to 1993.
These figures indicate that vehicle miles have increased across all urban and rural major and minor roads in Great Britain during the 21 years in which these statistics were collected – from 256.2 billion in 1993 to 310.2 billion in 2014.
The greatest increase in vehicle miles is on our major roads, an increase of some 43.10 billion.
So, in summary, the official statistics support our common perception that the roads on which we drive and ride are busier generally. The type of vehicles on our roads may change over time, but the trend is firmly towards more and more vehicle miles, on all types of roads.
As motorists, we would do well to heed this information and take extra care when making our many journeys on today’s busy roads.
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