The Department for Transport (DfT) has published its road traffic forecasts, which is a detailed look at the challenges of road traffic, congestion and emissions in England and Wales up to 2050.
This strategic view of future road travel demand looks at a number of different scenarios, produced through a National Transport Model that incorporates economic and demographic data, as well as evidence on travel behaviour and the factors influencing this.
A number of plausible scenarios are in place to reflect uncertainty in the factors affecting road traffic demand.
In all scenarios, the road traffic forecasts reveal both congestion and traffic will increase, but the size of that growth varies depending on the assumptions made surrounding the factors that influence future road demand.
According to the road traffic forecasts, from 2015, traffic is expected to grow between 17% and 51% by 2050, with the Strategic Road Network (SRN) forecast to see growth between 32% and 66%. One of the reasons for this increase will be the rise of Light Goods Vehicle (LGV) traffic.
On principal roads and minor roads, growth in traffic is forecast to be between 10% to 48% and 11% to 50% respectively.
LGV traffic is predicted to account for 19% of total traffic, but will have a “significant impact” on total traffic growth, with increases expected in all scenarios (between 23% and 108%).
HGV traffic growth will be lower than other vehicle types, according to the study. However, the overall growth means that congestion will also increase, ranging from 8% to 16%, depending on scenario, which is up from 7% in 2015.
Without further action, if the figures are correct in this report, congestion and delays will increase by 20 minutes in 2050.
It perfectly highlights the reasons why the government is using technology to alleviate congestion and decrease road journeys, while also trying to increase freight travel to ease the pressure on the roads.
Despite increases in traffic, CO2 emissions should reduce during this time between 17% to 76%.
This shows that the zero emission initiatives, and strategies in place to reduce pollution are important, and will continue to play a crucial role in Britain’s roads in the future.