Commuters who start and finish work later could speed up their drives to and from the office by 10 miles per hour – cutting a full hour a week from the time they spend on the road.
The new research has been revealed by Highways England, which monitored a nine-mile stretch of the M62. This links the M6 near Warrington to the M60 near Manchester.
It is used by 120,000 vehicles every day, so there was no shortage of data to carry out the survey.
The headline finding is that those who leave for work after 9am get there much more quickly than those who travel between 7am to 9am.
At the other end of the day, drivers who leave the office at 6pm will travel 10 miles per hour faster than those who leave at 5pm. And if they can wait until 7pm, they’ll travel 20 miles per hour faster.
This could cut the average commuter journey time by a third.
Highways England reckons, for an average 20-mile journey, someone working from 9am to 5pm could spend an extra hour a week on the road, compared to someone working 10am to 6pm.
“It’s surprising that shifting our working days by just one hour could have such a significant impact on journey times,” said Mike Bull from Highways England.
He admitted that some may have no choice what time they work, “but if some are able to start and finish work an hour later, it could benefit everyone – and save some drivers an hour each week.”
The findings came as part of Highways England’s monitoring of traffic speeds during the M62 upgrade. It’s being converted to a smart motorway, which will add a third to its capacity.
It’s a much-needed upgrade: before the work, the average speed between 5pm and 6pm was just 36 miles per hour…