An annual record 324 billion vehicle miles (bvm) were travelled on Great Britain’s roads in 2016, while people walked on average the distance from London to the Yorkshire Dales.
The Transport Statistics Great Britain 2017, published by the Department for Transport, showed that 253 bvm were completed in cars, (up 2.2%), while van use rose by 5% to 49 bvm. The distance travelled by lorry stayed the same at 17 bvm.
Although officials described the total of 324 bvm for 2016 as a record and a 2.2% increase on 2015, it appears to have already been superseded by the provisional statistics for the year to June, which suggested that 325.1 bvm were travelled on Great Britain’s roads in that year.
The increase in traffic was reflected in congestion, particularly on local roads. The average delay on the strategic road network in England in 2016 was nine seconds per vehicle per mile, while the average delay on local ‘A’ roads was 45.9 seconds per vehicle per mile, up 2.8%.
Jack Cousens, head of roads policy for the AA, said: ‘It’s clear how important cars and vans are to keeping the economy moving as well as maintaining people’s independence and mobility.
‘But vehicle use at an all-time high also means increasing congestion. An average 45.9 second per mile delay on local A-roads shows that significant investment is needed to help traffic flow, in order to deliver goods and services.’
Of 1,792 fatalities on the roads in 2016, 816 were in vehicles (up 8% on 2015 and 46% of the total), while 448 were pedestrians (up 10% on 2015 and 25% of the total). The number of motorcyclists killed fell by 13% to 319, which is 18% of the total despite a much lower number of vehicle miles, while 102 cyclists were killed, up 2% on 2015.
In 2016, 25% of trips were made by walking. Officials said the average distance a person walked during the year was 198 miles. This is the distance from London to the Yorkshire Dales.
The average distance people cycled in 2016 was 53 miles. This was 37% greater than in 2002.