Traffic levels in Britain appear to have hit a plateau, albeit perhaps only temporarily, according to the latest official statistics.
The Provisional Road Traffic Estimates for the year ending June 2018, published by the Department for Transport, show that a total of 327 billion vehicle miles (bvm) were driven on Britain’s roads, compared to 327.1 bvm in the year ending December 2017.
The 2017 figures represented an increase of 1.3% on 2016, following what had seemed to be a relentless series of rises with each new set of statistics boasting an all-time high.
Officials said that while van and lorry traffic increased over the last year, car traffic was broadly stable. Car traffic, which represents the great majority of vehicles on the road, fell from an all-time high 254.4 bvm in 2017 to 253 bvm in the year ending in June.
However, van traffic increased by 3.75 to 51.7 bvm, while lorry traffic rose by 1.3% to 17.2 bvm.
Car traffic rolling annual estimates were level with those for the year ending March 2018, officals said, and overal traffic was ‘broadly stable’ compared to the year ending March 2018.
The DfT uses rolling average figures to even out a clear seasonal pattern in traffic, which is at its highest in summer and at its lowest in winter.
However, annual estimates for the year ending March 2018 showed a slight fall in traffic levels (to 326.2 bvm), which may reflect worse weather for the first quarter in 2018 than the equivalent period in 2017.
At the time, officials suggested that the extreme weather from the Beast from the East was relatively smalll and represented the difference between what would have been a ‘very slight increase’ and a ‘very slight decrease’.