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.