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The effect of 4 million new cars on UK roads

Over the next 25 years there is expected to be four million additional cars on the road in the UK which will cause delays in traffic to increase by about 54% according to new research.  The RAC foundation predicts that as the population of the UK continues to grow in upwards of ten million that the rates of people owning cars will also increase up to as many as 4 million more cars on the roads.  This will put on strain on the road networks given the fact that presently they are already strained.

The foundation is concerned that the increase in traffic will come at a time when billions of dollars that are usually placed into road improvements will be slashed due to budget concerns which will affect new building projects and improvements to the current network.  As a result of the increase in traffic and decrease in road maintenance traffic volumes on the existing networks could increase as much as 44% by the time 2035 comes to pass according to figure from the Department for Transport.  This will hardly be pleasant for drivers as the roads in the UK are already considered to be the busiest in all of Europe.

Director of the RAC Foundation, Professor Stephen Glaister, stated that it is time to forget Pan B as there is not even a Plan A in existence right now coming from the ministers about what to do about awful road conditions.  Instead he said that is a problem of some traffic jams today with more coming tomorrow.  He added that according to figures released from the Dft in the year 2035 there will be delays and traffic rates that will increase by over 50% based on today’s standards.  Even worse, during peak travel times the increase in problems will be much worse.

It is not all the DfT’s fault as many of the reasons that new building projects are not started is due to opposition from green groups like CPRE (Campaign to Protect Rural England) since they would cause habitats to be destroyed and farmland to be loss.  In response to this separate issue Glaister clarified that the group is not looking for a massive road network to be launched, but that there needs to be a strategy put in place for dealing with the traffic demands of the future.

Currently the RAC Foundation has been able to find 96 road schemes that are unfunded and have been shelved by the DfT, but if they were to actually be started they could offer a return of about six pounds for every one pound that was invested compared to the HS2 high speed rail project that will only offer a return of about £1.60 for every pound that is invested.


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