Increasing number of road users on Great Britain’s roads

The latest statistics issued by the Government state that the number of licensed vehicles on Great Britain’s roads reached 36.5 million, up 1.4% in the year to September 2015.

New registrations for July – September 2015 have increased by 8% since the same period in 2014.

With road usage on the rise, can our existing infrastructure cope? And is the answer simply to build more roads?


There’s no doubt that traffic congestion takes its toll on the quality of life, affecting the environment, personal wellbeing and fuel economy as well as adding to the pressures of businesses that use the roads for transportation of their goods.

Tackling road congestion

Governments in the UK and across the developed world debate different ways to tackle road congestion, none of which is particularly palatable to road users. Yet if no action is taken, we face the real prospect of grinding to a standstill, which isn’t good for business or the economy.


So what can be done?

Fuel tax – with the price of oil currently hitting a significant low, should the chancellor increase fuel duty to control vehicle usage?

Cultural change – How can we influence drivers and persuade them to take fewer journeys, walk, cycle or take public transport? With increasing pressure on people’s time, it’s a challenge to convince them that alternatives to the car would be better.

Rapid transit bus lanes for quick and easy transportation into town do help, as does the addition of Wi-Fi on public transport, allowing people to relax and enjoy the journey without worrying about parking at the other end. The use of mobile Apps and electronic information displays at bus stops also help people plan their journeys. Public transport has come a long way since the age of the unreliable, dirty, smoke-filled bus. It seems that a massive PR campaign in support of the humble bus might help us swap our cars for public transport.

Road pricing – should we introduce more road congestion charges, toll roads and increase the cost of parking? This is controversial but has the most direct affect on driver’s choices of when and where they choose to take their car.

Of course road pricing favours those who can afford to pay, arguably increasing the rich/poor divide. And some reports suggest that while road pricing has a direct effect in the short term, any reduction in road use is short lived, as people get used to road charges and learn to accept them.

This recent article by the Guardian makes an interesting read – suggesting that Cities are outgrowing the need for a car, and in an increasingly digital age, transportation sharing will be the next big thing.

We watch all this of course with interest. Meanwhile we do our best to use our roads effectively, planning journeys, avoiding congestion where possible and applying our flexible fleet of vehicles so they are used as efficiently as possible. There’s no doubt that technology has helped us; we look forward to further innovations to help us keep your goods moving!