Van thefts up 45 percent to record high

Van thefts increase in the UK

The number of vans stolen in the UK has increased by 45 percent over the last four years, according to new figures.

Police have recorded 32,056 incidents of van theft since 2015 – with 9,371 vans reported stolen in the last year alone. 

Of these, 4,777 vans were reported stolen to the Metropolitan Police – a 15 percent year-on-year increase. Meanwhile, in Leicestershire, van theft is up 843 percent to 377.

A Freedom of Information Request (FOI) found that van theft is up in most of the police forces included in the study, although the figure is down 73 percent in the West Midlands.

The study was conducted by Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles. It’s advising van owners and fleet managers to ensure their vehicles are fitted with the latest anti-theft devices and to remove tools overnight.

Over the weekend, thousands of pounds worth of tools were stolen from vans in the West Midlands. Julie Meer, Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) on the Tyburn Neighbourhood Team said: “”Can we please remind residents to be vigilant at this time and not to leave items of value including tools inside their vans and please use vehicle alarms where available.”

How to protect your van from theft

Volkswagen has the following advice for van drivers:

  • Park in well-lit areas or car parks with CCTV. Alternatively, position your van so that the doors are blocked by another vehicle
  • Window guards or full internal bulkheads can prevent thieves from seeing inside
  • Adding security film to the side glass and back window can stop thieves from breaking in
  • Fitting additional locks is a good idea
  • Invest in lockable internal racking or secure storage boxes
  • Fitting a tracking device can assist the police in the hunt for a stolen van

Volkswagen police van

David Hanna, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles head of service and parts operations, said: “Our most recent findings are concerning as it reveals that the problem of van theft is getting worse rather than better – and it’s a problem right across the country.

“Vans are the lifeblood of so many businesses up and down the country and it’s not only the emotional stress of replacing the vehicle but also the days and weeks of letting customers down and the cost of replacing tools, often worth thousands of pounds, before you can get back to ‘business as usual’.’

Number of van thefts

The FOI request was sent to 47 police forces across the UK. A total of 42 responded – here are the top 10.

Police forceStolen vans (2017/18)Stolen vans (2018/19)Year-on-year increase
Metropolitan Police4,1374.77715 percent
West Yorkshire55793167 percent
West Midlands1,505409-73 percent
Essex22838770 percent
Leicestershire40377843 percent
Hertfordshire20625323 percent
Derbyshiren/a229
Surrey210208-1 percent
Avon and Somerset16619316 percent
Sussexn/a181

HALF of all van drivers have nearly fallen asleep at the wheel

Half of van drivers falling asleep at the wheel

Van drivers feel more tired in the autumn and winter compared to summer, according to new research.

This comes on the weekend that the clocks goes back, with British Summer Time (BST) ending at 2am on Sunday. It means that many van drivers will be completing their working day in the dark.

Eighty-three percent of van drivers said tiredness is a factor in the autumn and winter months, with 45 percent saying the shortage of daylight impacts on their mood.

Worryingly, nearly HALF of the 2,000 van drivers who took part in the study confessed to nearly falling asleep at the wheel.

Almost two-thirds of the respondents said they take a break to alleviate tiredness. Separate research shows that this is the only cure for drowsy driving. Earlier this year, the National Sleep Foundation said drivers should take a nap for 15 to 45 minutes when tired.

Fifty-eight percent of the van drivers surveyed in this latest study said they opened the window to stay awake.

This doesn’t work.

Van driver on the road at night

Predictably, the longer a van driver spends on the road, the more likely they are to feel fatigued. Nearly two-thirds of drivers who spend more than 50 hours of their working week in their van felt more tired in the winter.

Meanwhile, 41 percent of those who work between 15 and 20 hours in their van felt the same.

Steve Bridge, managing director of Mercedes-Benz Vans UK, the company behind the research, said: “Although no one should be afraid to drive during the darkness of a winters’ morning or evening, it is something that requires extra consideration before even setting out on the road.

“The hard-working van community is not immune from the impact of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) or increased isolation during the winter months, so during this period of the clocks changing, we’re determined to raise awareness of just how tiring it can be on both physical and mental health this of year.”

Public Health England (PHE) and the NHS launched the Every Mind Matters campaign on 7 October. It’s designed to help people take simple steps to look after their mental health and support others.

A PHE survey reveals that 83 percent of people have experienced early signs of poor mental health in the last 12 months. These signs include feeling anxious, stressed, having low mood or trouble sleeping.

Helping van drivers to sleep better

Why sleep is the best prevention for drowsy driving

Using NHS advice, van drivers should take the following steps to avoid sleep problems:

  • Keep regular sleep hours: going to bed when you’re tired and getting up at roughly the same time helps teach your body to sleep better. Avoid naps.
  • Confront sleeplessness: if you’re lying awake, don’t force it. Get up and return to bed when you feel sleepier.
  • Create a restful environment: dark, cool and quiet environments make it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep.
  • Write down your worries: set aside time before bedtime to make a list for the next day.
  • Move more, sleep better: being active can help you sleep better.
  • Put down the pick-me-ups: caffeine and alcohol can keep you awake and prevent deep sleep.

For more information, visit the NHS Every Mind Matters campaign website.

MS-RT Ford Transit Connect review: van meets hot hatch

MS-RT Ford Transit Connect review

I don’t remember the last small Ford van I drove with a great deal of fondness. It was around the turn of the millennium, and the van – a white Ford Escort – must have been four, maybe five years old.

It was a rental van, so the years hadn’t been kind to it. Forget ‘one careful owner’, this thing had endured a lifetime at the hands of wreckless renters with as much mechanical sympathy as Ken or Ryu when faced with a Lexus LS400.

Not that a pair of streetfighters would ever mistake an Escort van for a Lexus. Besides, this battered Ford had taken more punches than Kristian Laight and more kicks than an expectant mum. I suspect it wasn’t long for this world.

Built in Spain, enhanced in Wales

A rubbish Escort van isn’t the best introduction to the MS-RT Transit Connect, but it was my single point of reference as I ventured into Wales to the firm’s certified facility located in an old British Nylon Spinners factory on the outskirts of Pontypool.

This is where standard Ford Transit vans and the smaller Transit Connect arrive to allow the Welsh wizards to weave some motorport magic. The vans enter as workhorses, but leave as thoroughbreds. Or something.

The Ford Transit Connect is the latest van to go under the MS-RT knife, as the company seeks to build on the success of the hugely popular MS-RT Transit Custom. The formula is the same, but the Connect is aimed at a different clientele. Think mobile valeters, mechanics and posh couriers.

But equally, you could see the MS-RT Transit Connect jostling for position outside a surfer’s shack in Cornwall or at the foot of a mountain bike trail in the Lake District. Because lifestyle, innit.

MS-RT Ford Transit Connect leather seats

There’s an increasingly thin line between Ford’s cars and its range of light commercial vehicles. Assuming you can live with having just three seats, a Transit Connect 200 L1 – the version used for the MS-RT makeover – could make for an extremely practical and efficient daily-driver.

‘What will the neighbours think?’, might be a question you’re pondering. We can’t have the yummy mummies of Costa and dashing dads of Waitrose thinking we’ve taken up labouring for a living, dahr-ling.

Nonsense. These things are in high demand, to the extent that some chancers are producing knock-off kits and dressing them up as authentic MS-RT items. Take it from me, they’re not the real thing. It takes 75 to 78 hours for each Transit Connect to pass through the various rooms of a famous old building that once posted the largest factory floor in Europe.

Plastic, fantastic

MS-RT Ford Transit Connect road test

Having failed to source a reliable supplier in Eastern Europe, the guys at MS-RT took it upon themselves to pioneer the production of injected-moulded plastic used to create the exterior body styling.

The front bumper, grilles, front diffuser, side skirts, rear diffuser and spoiler are all created in-house before being hand-finished, painted and installed by a small but dedicated team. Crucially, they’re built to withstand the same level of abuse as a standard Ford van and are designed for ease of removal at a Ford dealer.

The result is something that looks fresh out of the Ford factory. It’s little wonder, then, that Ford is happy to list the MS-RT option in its brochure, while orders have to be placed via one of a select number of official Ford Transit centres.

Still unconvinced? Maybe the fact that MS-RT is the first European firm to achieve Ford Qualified Vehicle Modifier (QVM) status will change your mind. Having seen the process for myself, I can assure you these vans bear close scrutiny. It’s a proper job, as they might say in my part of the world.

MS-RT Ford Transit Connect rear

In addition to the body makeover, the Transit Connect gets a quad stainless steel sports exhaust system, 18-inch OZ Racing alloy wheels, Michelin tyres and MS-RT badges. Bronze alloys are available if you’re brave enough.

On the inside, the steering wheel is removed to be refinished, while the seats are wrapped in hand-crafted suede and nappa leather. It’s like having a Transit Connect Vignale without the concierge. Or the extravagant price tag.

It’s £23,995 plus VAT, in case you were wondering, which is around £5,000 extra on top of the standard Transit Connect Limited. Not bad, especially considering the time and money spent designing, building and installing the bespoke parts.

There aren’t many options, but you can order a Maxhaust exhaust system, black exhaust tips and a full carbon steering wheel. You can also go a bit lairy with the racing decals, if you like that kind of thing. Personally, I think less is more.

Express delivery?

MS-RT Ford Transit Connect profile

“Cor, mister, I bet that goes really fast,” might be a common question you’ll be asked as you fill up with diesel or unload your garden rubbish at the tip. It’ll top 100mph, so it’s plenty quick enough, but MS-RT hasn’t touched the engine.

Which means it’s powered by the same Euro 6.2 1.5-litre EcoBlue diesel engine producing 120hp and 199lb ft of torque. A six-speed manual comes as standard, but you can order an eight-speed automatic for a touch more torque. You can expect to achieve around 55mpg if you ain’t misbehavin’.

It all feels very car-like. Every MS-RT van is based on the Limited trim level with a few optional extras, so aside from the bulkhead behind the seat and the slightly iffy acoustics in the cabin, it feels every inch a Ford car.

There’s a heated driver’s seat, air conditioning, automatic headlights and wipers, cruise control, reversing camera, Ford Sync 3 with voice control, heated windscreen and LED loadspace lighting. You also get bi-xenon headlights and LED daytime running lights. This van wants for nothing.

The car-like vibes continue once you’re on the move, with the motorsport-enhanced Transit Connect dealing with the rutted roads of Wales with aplomb. There’s very little in the way of wind and road noise, while the six-speed gearbox is a delight to use. It’s genuinely good fun to drive.

Cooler than a crossover?

MS-RT Ford Transit Connect steering wheel

There’s something mildly amusing about pushing a bright red van to its limits on some of the best roads in Wales. Insert your own Postman Pat gag here.

I’m not saying it turns in like a Fiesta ST, but it feels like a fast Ford, and that’s high praise. The steering is nicely weighted, the gear stick is well positioned for quick changes, and the low- to mid-range torque makes overtaking a doddle.

Everything in context – this remains a diesel van with a 602kg payload and a focus on delivering stuff – but it has the potential to put a smile on your face at the end of a long working day. And that’s as much a testament to Ford’s engineers as it is to the team at MS-RT.

It feels a bit naughty, slightly unhinged and maybe a little anti-establishment. Stick two fingers up at convention and do your own thing.

Cooler than a crossover, more space than an estate car and – in my opinion – better resolved than the Transit Custom, it has banished my memories of that tired Escort once and for all. I’m not sure I’ll ever buy one, but I’ll give a knowing nod to anyone who does.

Ford Transit Connect van gets a motorsport makeover

MS-RT Ford Transit Connect

Tuning company MS-RT has revealed its sporty take on the Ford Transit Connect.

Like the larger Transit Custom that MS-RT revealed in 2018, the Connect features an aggressive styling kit to help it stand out.

A jutting front splitter and bumper with large intake grilles redefine the van’s front end. You’ll also spot side skirts and a new rear bumper, diffuser and roof spoiler.

MS-RT Ford Transit Connect

The kit is manufactured on-site at MS-RT’s Pontypool facility in South Wales. Complementing the new bodywork is a set of 18-inch OZ Racing alloys, which you can order in silver or bronze.

Giving the Transit Connect a bit more vocal range is a new stainless steel sports exhaust. Its cabin is spruced up with leather and suede trim, plus a carbon-embellished steering wheel.

MS-RT Ford Transit Connect

As MS-RT works with Ford’s rally division, there is a nod of approval from the Blue Oval. All MS-RT Transit Connects will be warrantied to three years or 100,000 miles.

So what will this tastier Transit cost you? It starts from £23,995 with a manual gearbox, or £24,995 with an auto, although both those prices exclude VAT. Add the optional sticker pack, black exhaust tips and a full carbon wheel and that price swells further.

We’d consider paying extra for the bronze wheels and fruity app-controlled exhaust.

MS-RT Ford Transit Connect

Orders will start arriving in September, but if the Connect doesn’t quite meet your needs, double-cab and long-wheelbase versions will follow before long.

“We’ve enjoyed unprecedented success with the MS-RT Transit Custom, with the order books completely full since launch,” said MS-RT director, Edward Davies.

“Our customers absolutely love their vans and the uniqueness of them, so we expect that the Connect will develop a similar following among those who want a commercial vehicle with genuine motorsport heritage, fantastic sports styling and a full manufacturer-backed warranty. We can’t wait to deliver the first Launch Edition models later this year.”

Van drivers are paying £600k a year in loading bay fines

Volkswagen parking bay fines

Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles is highlighting the parking fine plight facing the UK’s van drivers. Over the past three years, fines administered have added up to £1.7million.

Where are they getting these fines? Loading bays…

Volkswagen parking bay fines

That adds up to around £600,000 a year. Councils have issued around 13,000 parking fines a year since 2015 and the number of fines administered has risen by around 10 percent year-on-year.

Interestingly, around 23 percent of appeals against penalty charge notices for incorrect loading bay use were successful. Volkswagen believes there is palpable confusion around the rules of loading bays.

The rules of loading bay parking

Volkswagen parking bay fines

  • Loading bays are designed to do exactly what it says on the sign. That’s to say, they’re for collecting pre-ordered goods, or dropping off goods that require a vehicle to transport them.
  • Unattended vehicles need to have hazard lights turned on, to make it clear that they’re being loaded or unloaded.
  • Crucially, a loading bay should never be used as a way station to wait in while parking frees up.
  • Time restrictions also apply to almost every loading bay. Make sure to operate in accordance with these.

Volkswagen parking bay fines

“As this research reveals, PCNs are costing businesses thousands of pounds a year,” said Sarah Cox, head of marketing at Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles.

“In fact, they can be avoided completely if you understand the rules correctly. Loading bays are an essential part of the red route network as they allow businesses to access central locations to make and receive important deliveries. As the rules change between councils, it is crucial that you check before you park.”

Citroen Berlingo van WRC special

Citroen Berlingo Van vs WRC rally star

Citroen Berlingo van WRC specialThe Citroen Berlingo van is virtually a brand in its own right. Frequently Britain’s best-selling light commercial vehicle, it has built a reputation since 1996 for toughness, flexibility and dependability.

So when Citroen World Rally Championship star Esapekka Lappi visited Britain, an idea was hatched. They could have let him do demonstration runs in a road-going version of the C3 supermini he spectacularly drives in the WRC. Fun, but maybe a bit ho-hum. 

Citroen Berlingo van WRC special

Instead, brilliantly, a new Citroen Berlingo van was given a rally-spec engineering makeover. A rally training school was hired for the day, and Lappi was let loose towork his magic. Even better, I was lucky enough to hitch a ride.

The idea was to show off how robust the Berlingo is. Citroen UK dubbed it a ‘stress test’, and it’ll be interesting to know if a day’s thrashing by one of rallying’s hottest young talents now becomes an official part of the development sign-off process.

Citroen Berlingo van WRC special

Citroen had an extra ace to justify the day: a Berlingo ‘Worker’ version was chosen. This has 30 mm more ground clearance than the regular van, more underbody protection, hill descent control, Grip Control (which magics up extra traction from the front wheels via electronics) plus beefier mud and snow tyres.

It’s more WRC-spec than any road-going C3, particularly with the installation of a regular ‘bar’ handbrake instead of the standard Berlingo’s electronic parking brake. Add on a WRC-style livery (“we weren’t allowed to use Red Bull branding, so we went with our centenary logo instead”) and it was all set for an unlikely afternoon of driving.

Rallying a Citroen Berlingo Van

Citroen Berlingo van WRC special

It was my turn first. Cool as a cucumber, Esapekka cheerily told me to do whatever I wanted, go as fast as I liked. Racing drivers can be super-cautious when being driven by people they’ve never met: rally drivers are a different breed. As I fired up the stock HDi diesel engine, he sat back and relaxed, as if we were driving to the first job of the day.

All that was missing was a copy of The Sun on the dashboard for him to read.

I won’t bore you with what I drove like, because I was rubbish. I understand circuit racing, but I really can’t get my head around rallying. There’s no grip, the vehicle must always be dancing, usually sliding, and the way you have to use Scandinavian flicks is a bit like playing snooker. I was bamboozled.

Citroen Berlingo van WRC special

The van, amazingly, felt great. Loads of suspension travel made light work of the lumpy rally-spec surface and even though I hadn’t a clue what I was doing, it was still fun to slide around. But I knew I only had a limited time with Esapekka, so I pulled up early. Time to swap, and show me how it should be done.

Citroen Berlingo Van WRC

Citroen Berlingo van WRC special

I quickly got it barely 10 seconds later, as we scrabbled away in a gravelly, clattery rush, hurtled towards the first corner and, unlike me, he didn’t brake and totter round but instead pitched sideways and drifted through it at barely-abated speed with the most ludicrous cloud of dust left in our wake. This is how you rally a Berlingo van.

At least with circuit driving, you can work out braking points and likely speeds through corners. Sitting alongside a rally driver, even in a van, is the most random experience because it all seems so confidently improvised and beyond-comprehension fast. This was a sun-baked gravel course whose surface you could do skids on in your shoes. There’s no way a standard road-going diesel van should be going this quickly.

Citroen Berlingo van WRC special

But Esapekka was on it, working at the wheel in a blur, making it do the most graceful things through bends probably three times faster than I’d taken them. Absolutely glorious is the only way to describe it – genuinely more fun and thrilling than many a supercar blast around a racetrack.

Citroen Berlingo van WRC special

We eventually had to stop because there was so much dust, we couldn’t see where to go. I had no idea a Berlingo van could do what I’d just been shown, and certainly no clue it could seemingly take such treatment in its stride. The man who winces when he hits a pothole had just experienced a van being monstered by a WRC driver, and it was still ready for more.

Citroen Berlingo van WRC special

Indeed, once the dust had settled, it was out again, so I could marvel at the 25-metre drifts and, as it disappeared back into the dust, growl of a hard-worked diesel engine and sounds of tyres battering gravel indicating Esapekka wasn’t letting up.

“It has a long heritage and is very well known in the light van sector,” Citroen’s CV boss told me later. “We had the chance to work with Esapekka so we thought we’d do something a bit different, to add to the Berlingo van brand story.”

Quite brilliant, Citroen. Even Esapekka seemed surprised. “I’m actually impressed with how much fun it is to drive – it corners well and it’s very strong.”

Rally drivers really are a different breed, and will drive anything spectacularly. That a future WRC champ has given such kudos to the Berlingo van is surely now worth a point or two on the building site or delivery yard.

Volkswagen launches Contract Hire Direct

Now you can buy your next Volkwagen van completely online

Volkswagen launches Contract Hire Direct

Volkswagen has announced a new digital platform aimed at making the process of buying a new van easier for customers.  

Those that use a van for work everyday are likely to be short on time, and trips to dealerships eat into important business hours. 

The answer is the new Contract Hire Direct service, allowing commercial vehicle customers to deal directly with Volkswagen UK.

Volkswagen launches Contract Hire Direct

The new process will allow buyers to find a van that meets their needs, tailor a finance package, and then apply for contract hire or lease online through the website. 

Volkswagen promises that the deals available from VW Financial Services will prove to be good value, and customisable based upon mileage and customer deposit size.

Volkswagen launches Contract Hire DirectEven after ordering, there is still no need to actually head to a local Volkswagen Van Centre. Customers can request for their new van or pickup to be delivered directly to their door instead. 

With more than 80 percent of new vehicle customers beginning their research online, extending the process to include actual purchasing is a logical extension. 

Sarah Cox, Head of Marketing for Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, said: “The typical customer journey has changed and we are excited to be launching this new system via our award-winning website to keep up with the demand.

“As part of our Working With You promise, we’re committed to evolving our services to meet the ever-changing needs and requirements of the modern-day business, and we would expect to see more direct sales options coming on line in future.”

All British Gas vans will be electric by 2030

British Gas to cycle its van fleet to electric power

Energy supplier British Gas has pledged to replace its existing fleet of 12,500 vans with all-electric versions by the end of the next decade

The fleet is the third largest in the UK, used to transport 15,000 engineers. British gas owner SSE has also pledged its 3,500-vehicle fleet will transition to electric and that it will build new charging points to support this.

“Decarbonisation is at the heart of what we do, and low-carbon emissions from transport is critical if the UK is to meet its net zero targets,” said Brian McLaren, director at SSE.

British Gas to cycle its van fleet to electric power

SSE has also signed up to an efficiency pledge to double energy productivity by 2030. This includes both improvements in energy efficiency and a reduction in energy waste.

The pledge is the brainchild of The Climate Group, which has also secured support from facilities management firm, Mitie. The latter company has committed to switch 20 percent of its 3,500 vehicle fleet to electric power by 2020.

In addition, Mitie will install 800 EV charging points, to help reduce dependency on public charging infrastructure.

British Gas to cycle its van fleet to electric power

“These companies are sending a clear message that the direction of travel for transport is electric, inspiring their staff and customers to follow,” said The Climate Group’s chief executive, Helen Clarkson. “Every major business must do the same.”

In total, The Climate Group has pledges from 49 companies, adding up to two million internal combustion vehicles off the road by 2020.

Taxi! New eco-friendly van is based on London cab

The new LEVC LCV van

LEVC, the company behind the TX London taxi, has launched a small van. Meet the LCV based on the familar, eco-friendly cab, and revealed by London Mayor, Sadiq Khan.

‘The clean and green urban delivery van of tomorrow is here,’ says LEVC. Like the TX cab, the ‘Light Commercial Vehicle’ uses the e-City range extender powertrain.

That means batteries and an electric motor, in combination with a petrol engine, for a total of 80 miles electric range, plus a total range of 377 miles.

The new LEVC LCV van

What makes this powertrain well-suited for a London cab, also works for a small delivery van. Eighty miles of electric range could see delivery drivers in the capital through an entire day before the petrol engine is called upon.

At present, the UK market for small vans is around 50,000 vehicles a year, while there are around 65,000 unique LCV journeys in London every day. That must amount to hefty ULEZ and congestion charge fees, all of which the LEVC LCV can avoid.

The new LEVC LCV van

The LCV is targeted to achieve a best-in-class total cost of ownership, compared with conventional petrol and diesel-powered vans. Durability is said to be world-class.

Along with the £3,500 scrappage incentive, plus up to £8,000 granted for ‘New Energy’ van adoption, the LCV could be a tempting prospect indeed for urban businesses.

The new LEVC LCV van

Van drivers should also be happy. The LCV has been benchmarked against premium MPVs for comfort and ease-of-operation on the inside. The TX cab’s super-tight turning circle features, too.

“The light commercial vehicle sector is the only growing vehicle traffic segment in London,” said LEVC CEO, Joerg Hofmann.

“This is due to the rapid rise in internet shopping – the Amazonisation of retail. Every day there are 65,000 unique LCV journeys into London, but mobility must not come at the expense of air quality.

The new LEVC LCV van

“We have combined our existing knowledge of the urban environment with EV technology that can put urban mobility on a sustainable pathway. Durable, reliable, efficient, cost-effective and high quality, that is our new LCV.

“London and the UK will be first to market, then we will extend the vehicle to Europe and further afield. Our goal is to be the leading European electric commercial vehicle provider.”

Van traffic has nearly DOUBLED in Britain since 1993

van traffic

Van traffic on British roads has increased by almost 100 percent since 1993, according to latest official government figures.

It means that van traffic has reached a record high of 51 billion vehicle miles. Vans now account for 16 percent of all motor vehicle traffic, compared to just 10 percent in 1993.

For context, traffic from cars and taxis is down from 82 percent to 78 percent. The distance covered by cars and taxis has risen by a more controlled 21.4 percent, albeit still to a record high of 255 billion miles.

However, although van traffic is significantly up, the rate of growth appears to be slowing down. 2018 statistics show a 0.9 percent increase from 2017. Car traffic was up just 0.2 percent.

Going further back, van traffic is up 1,143 percent since 1949, with lorries up ‘just’ 119 percent and buses and coaches actually down eight percent.

van traffic uk

Broadly speaking, vans have a similar daily travel pattern to cars, although the afternoon peak for van traffic is between 3pm and 5pm, an hour earlier than cars.

[Insert something here about van drivers clocking off an hour earlier…]

Predictably, the proportion of vans on the road at weekends is generally lower than weekdays, even at peak periods.

Rather than van drivers covering greater distances, the government says the increased traffic is due to growth in the number of licensed vans on the road.

The number rose 88 percent between 1994 and 2018, up from 2.1 to 4.0 million. Meanwhile, the average annual mileage per van has remained stable at around 13,000 miles per year.

‘Particularly worrying’

New Ford Transit

Commenting on the figures, RAC head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes said: “The number of miles travelled on our roads hardly changed in 2018 compared to the previous year, but interestingly, the forms of transport used has.

“Van traffic, despite experiencing slower growth in 2018, still saw a slight increase which sets a new record high.

“Cycling miles also rose and is now 34 percent above what it was 25 years ago, but there has been a continued decline in the number of miles travelled by buses and coaches which is particularly worrying in an age when, as a society, we are trying to get people to use public transport more.”