07 August 2008

Road traffic growth

The Department for Transport has released data covering the number of kilometers driven by all road traffic types for the year ending 31 December 2007. When compared with equivalent statistics for the previous ten years, some interesting areas of growth can be identified.

Below can be seen the total number of billion kilometers travelled by each type:

404.10 Cars & Taxis
5.60 Motor Cycles
5.70 Bus & Coach
68.20 Light Van
29.40 Heavy Goods
513.00 Total

4.20 Pedal Cycle

The first thing to point out is that, when comparing the above date - 2007 - with that for 1997, every vehicle type has seen an increase in kilometers travelled. Comparing the data with that for 2006 shows an increase in the total kms travelled for all vehicle types of 5.5 billion - or growth of 1.1%.

The last decade has been chosen for comparison as it also shows how traffic has grown under the tenure of a Labour government. Back in 1997 the total kms travelled was 450.3 billion, which has seen a 14% increase to the very latest figures for last year. We believe that an increase in traffic is and always was inevitable though between 1999-2000 overall kms ground to a virtual halt; whereas between 2001-2002 a 12.1 billion increase was recorded.

Taking the data for 2007, one of the most notable increases in kilometers is that of Mr White Van Man - with an increase greater than that of the overall total since 2000. Since 1997 Light Van traffic has risen 40% to 68.2 billion kms travelled in 2007 (48.6 billion kms in 1997). It would appear that the boom in this sector is partly linked to the increase in Internet shopping.

Turning to buses and coaches, this sector saw its highest ever recorded number of kilometers travelled for 2007 - 5.7 billion - compared to 5.4 billion in 2006 and 5.2 billion in 1997. This equates to a 6% increase between 2006-2007 and a 9.7% increase during the last decade. This is particularly impressive as it represents more kms travelled than at any time - even during the bus and coach boom following deregulation in the 1980s, total kms travelled only reached 4.1 billion.