Since the 1950s, the long term trend in the volume of road traffic has been one of growth, peaking at 314.1 billion vehicle miles in 2007. Following the peak in road traffic in 2007, motor vehicle traffic then fell for three consecutive years; the first consecutive annual falls since traffic records began. In contrast, between 2010 and 2012 traffic volumes were broadly stable.
The figures show:
- in 2012, the overall motor vehicle traffic volume in Great Britain was 302.6 billion vehicle miles, similar to the traffic volume in 2011 and 2010.
- in 2012, traffic volumes for cars and LGVs were broadly similar when compared to 2011, while HGVs, motorcycles, and buses and coaches all showed decreases (-2.4%, -2.0%, and -6.0%, respectively).
- in the last ten years, traffic volumes for all vehicle types have decreased (for example, cars and taxis: -1.0%; HGVs: -11.6%) except for LGVs which have increased by over a fifth (21.5%).
- traffic on motorways increased by 1% in the last year. Motorways and urban minor roads (0.7%) were the only road type to experience growth in traffic levels during 2012.
- in 2012, Highways Agency managed roads (i.e. the Strategic Roads Network) were 2.4% of the road network in England, but carried 32.7% of all motor vehicle traffic and 65.5% of all HGV traffic.
Road traffic, speeds and congestion statistics guidance