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That's not to mention the extra £1,000 they spend for the pleasure...

Drivers spend a total of almost five days a year stuck in traffic because of mounting congestion on the roads, figures in a new report have shown.

The Local Government Association (LGA) has also published data that show that idling in traffic costs each driver £968 a year.

The report, ‘A country in a jam: tackling congestion in our towns and cities’,  forecasts that congestion will cost the economy £300billion a year by 2030 – a tenfold increase of current costs.

Travel speeds across the country’s local roads continue to decrease, with the average speed on ‘A’ roads now just 25.2 mph, 1 per cent slower than it was this time last year.

Congestion also significantly contributes to excess harmful vehicle emissions - which leads to 40,000 premature deaths annually.

The LGA is warning that congestion is no longer just threatening our environment and the quality of our air, but also becoming a drain on our economy and productivity too. It is forecasting that congestion will cost the economy £300 billion a year by 2030 –a tenfold increase of the current costs of £30.8 billion a year.

With traffic forecasted to rise by up to 55 per cent by 2040, council leaders are calling on government to outline a comprehensive congestion strategy to tackle the issue.

The LGA said councils need the same sort of long term funding certainty for local roads maintenance that is enjoyed by Highways England and Network Rail. This is desperately needed to help councils tackle the £12 billion roads repair backlog and congestion they face on local roads.

Cllr Judith Blake, LGA Transport spokesperson, said: “Congestion can have a significant impact on our towns, cities and communities, and act as a drag on local growth. Worse still, it can lead to toxic air and reduced quality of life.

“When the average motorist is spending a working week every year sat in traffic on major roads, and losing almost a £1,000 in the process, it’s clear that councils need to be able to do more to tackle this growing problem.

“Councils are working hard to combat traffic and congestion. But they need long-term consistent funding to invest in local roads and need greater powers to solve the problem and introduce attractive alternatives to car journeys, such as through public transport, walking and cycling.

“This will help those that need to use the roads as well as those that have to live with the consequences of congestion.”

 

After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.

14 comments

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wellsprop [505 posts] 3 months ago
2 likes

That's a pretty depressing report.

Not at all hard to believe though - I find cycling across Bristol takes easily 2/3 the time of driving. Even on the A roads heading out the city, I find I'm constantly playing leapfrog with cars when commuting home by bike.

Almost scary.

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davel [1971 posts] 3 months ago
3 likes

So, not 5 days of your *life*, then: more like 225 days over a working career.

In fact, it can be painted as even bleaker than that. The report says that residents of Bristol, only the 9th most congested city in the UK, lose 148 hours per year - that's over 6 full days. Presumably that's an average and the driviest Bristolians lose a lot more than that. And it's all waking hours, and you're only awake say 16 hours a day, so that equates to over 9 days - almost 2 weeks of leave - of being awake where you're just sitting in traffic.

I think much more should be made of just how much life is wasted from just sitting in cars. Calculating how many days per year I was losing either sitting in the car, or standing on the train, was the single biggest reason for me starting cycling to work.

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beezus fufoon [956 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes

to be honest - I spend more time than that on the toilet

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don simon [1539 posts] 3 months ago
6 likes
beezus fufoon wrote:

to be honest - I spend more time than that on the toilet

Multitask?

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esnifador [53 posts] 3 months ago
2 likes

It would be nice to think that individual councils will actually take on board the need to make alternatives to driving more attractive. Sadly the prospect of upsetting any motorist who might vote for them or give money to them usually results in ineffective compromises at best.

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dodgy [234 posts] 3 months ago
4 likes

People in office jobs that spend most if not all of their day reading/writing emails and filling in spreadsheets. Their companies are saying "come to this place 20 miles away to type into a keyboard".

Crazy. 2017 and I'm still the only person I know (apart from colleagues) that works from home on a very regular basis.

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Bmblbzzz [169 posts] 3 months ago
2 likes

"The LGA said councils need the same sort of long term funding certainty for local roads maintenance that is enjoyed by Highways England and Network Rail. This is desperately needed to help councils tackle the £12 billion roads repair backlog and congestion they face on local roads."

 

Long term funding certainty enjoyed by Network Rail? Really? The same Network Rail that has just had to abandon half the electrification of GWML, scrap various local line reopenings and planned new stations? The Network Rail that, in the calculation of Cost:Benefit ratios for projects,  is obliged to consider fuel duty lost to the Exchequer as a result of road traffic moving to rail on the cost side? 

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gunswick [117 posts] 3 months ago
2 likes

It's because of WHAT you type on the keyboard that you are asked to come into the office, not so much WHERE you do the typing!

Commuting by car is lame. I am shuddering at the idea of having to clear the windscreen twice daily in winter (Scotland). Bike I have to spend 10 minutes donning armour yes, but at least that's inside!

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daturaman [20 posts] 3 months ago
2 likes
dodgy wrote:

Crazy. 2017 and I'm still the only person I know (apart from colleagues) that works from home on a very regular basis.

It is indeed, especially given how fibre optic broadband is becoming the norm around major cities. Remote working is more common in industries like IT, but it's still seen as a "perk" and not a productivity tool. To me it seems that most employers don't trust their employees enough to work from home either most of the time or all of the time. That says more about them than it does about us.

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HarrogateSpa [500 posts] 3 months ago
2 likes

The worry is that the LGA think the solution is more of the failed model - more roads and wider roads, which will encourage more traffic and produce more congestion, and frighten more people off the roads on bikes.

I'm sure some councils are starting to get it. It's time to think and act differently, and encourage more efficient ways of getting around.

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HarrogateSpa [500 posts] 3 months ago
3 likes

To be fair to the LGA, and having looked briefly at the actual report, it does seem quite enlightened, dealing with alternatives to the status quo. (That could have been mentioned in the article on this cycling website!)

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dodgy [234 posts] 3 months ago
1 like
gunswick wrote:

It's because of WHAT you type on the keyboard that you are asked to come into the office, not so much WHERE you do the typing!

I'll admit it, you lost me. Sorry, can you try again for my slow brain?  1

 

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Shades [344 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes
wellsprop wrote:

That's a pretty depressing report.

Not at all hard to believe though - I find cycling across Bristol takes easily 2/3 the time of driving. Even on the A roads heading out the city, I find I'm constantly playing leapfrog with cars when commuting home by bike.

Almost scary.

Mentioned cycling to some Bristol drivers moaning about congestion and they looked at me in horror.  Note, this is a city with traffic free cycle paths in quite a lot of places.  The only way to get some people out of their car would to prise it out of their cold dead hands.

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Helmut D. Bate [86 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes
Shades wrote:
wellsprop wrote:

That's a pretty depressing report.

Not at all hard to believe though - I find cycling across Bristol takes easily 2/3 the time of driving. Even on the A roads heading out the city, I find I'm constantly playing leapfrog with cars when commuting home by bike.

Almost scary.

Mentioned cycling to some Bristol drivers moaning about congestion and they looked at me in horror.  Note, this is a city with traffic free cycle paths in quite a lot of places.  The only way to get some people out of their car would to prise it out of their cold dead hands.

Driving to cycling is too much of a leap for most people. This report focuses on the negatives of driving. Getting that message across would be a good start.