The cost of road traffic in the UK is predicted to top £300 billion between now and 2030, with the annual bill rising by almost two-thirds to £21.4 billion a year.
Traffic information firm Inrix has made the prediction, with congestion largely being caused by population growth and an increasing GDP thanks to the strengthening UK economy.
London will be acutely affected by growing traffic congestion, warned Inrix. As the UK’s most congested city, drivers there already spend 250 hours a year idling in traffic, which is double the UK average.
By 2030, Londoners will be sat stationary in traffic for nearly 300 hours a year – a full 40 working days – with the costs of this topping £9 billion (71% up on 2013, or equivalent to the cost of the 2012 London Olympics). Remarkably, the cost per car communing household because of this will grow to over £4,000 a year by 2030.
That’s despite only one-third of Londoners commuting to work by car. Across the rest of the UK, nearly 70% of the workforce commutes to work by car during peaks times. They’re currently sat stationary for 124 hours a year and this will rise to 136 hours a year by 2030, or 18 working days.
One stark statistic makes the risk of 2030’s growing traffic congestion clear: by 2030, the annual cost of congestion to the UK will exceed the UK’s entire 2014 transport budget…
Smart solution for UK gridlock?
“This study is a warning of the worsening impact of gridlock on the British economy and on household budgets,” said Matt Simmons, European director, INRIX.
“We now know that congestion will continue to have serious consequences for national and city economies, businesses and citizens in the years to come.
“If we think this problem is bad now, we are in for a terrible shock come 2030.”
So what’s the solution? For Simmons, it’s a combination of factors that are based on the fact today’s approach simply isn’t working. “Ultimately, cities need to be more innovative in their approach to tackling gridlock.
“Improving public transport infrastructure may provide more choice for travelers, but it won’t solve the problem. Technology innovations such as multi-modal routing and real-time traffic in cars and on mobile devices should be adopted more widely, helping to create smarter cities worldwide.”