More than half of drivers in a new survey felt that congestion on major roads has increased in the last year, while other drivers’ use of handheld phones has overtaken the condition of local roads as the top concern of motorists.
The findings come in the RAC Report on Motoring 2017, based on an online survey of 1,727 motorists. While only 8% of motorists said congestion is their top concern, compared with 7% a year ago, 56% of drivers said they believe traffic has got worse on motorways, high-speed dual carriageways and A-roads.
Within this, the highest figure was for motorways, with 61% of motorists saying congestion and journey times have worsened in the last 12 months, while 58% felt high-speed dual carriageways and urban A-roads had become more congested. Only 45% said congestion had worsened on rural single carriageway A-roads.
RAC chief engineer David Bizley said: ‘With unwelcome evidence of increased congestion, it is essential that the schemes to increase capacity of the strategic road network which form part of the first Road Investment Strategy are delivered to plan. The recent news from Highways England that some projects have been delayed is therefore very unwelcome.
‘And with work well advanced on development of the second Road Investment Strategy which will be implemented from 2020/21, it is vital that proposals are included to debottleneck the most congested stretches of the network which were not included in the first Road Investment Strategy.’
Martin Tett, Local Government Association transport spokesman, said: ‘Councils are working hard to combat traffic and congestion but need to be able to do more to tackle this growing problem.
‘Long-term, consistent funding is needed for them to invest in local roads and introduce attractive alternatives to car journeys, such as through public transport, walking and cycling.’
The use of handheld mobiles to talk, text, take pictures or videos, or access the internet was cited by 16% of respondents as their top concern in 2017 up on 13% in 2016, despite repeated Government and police campaigns to crack down on the issue.
Concern over the condition of local roads fell in 2017, with 10% of motorists naming it as their top worry, compared against 14% a year ago. However, just over half (51%, unchanged) said that the state of roads in their area has worsened in the last year.