Van & truck traffic rise as car miles fall on pre-pandemic levels

Friday, October 7, 2022 - 06:36
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Car traffic has increased by a third (32.9%) to 237.5 billion vehicle miles year-on-year, but is down on pre-pandemic levels, according to new data released by the Department for Transport (DfT).

Van and lorry traffic increased by 25.2% and 10.1%, respectively, from March 2021 to March 2022, with all motor vehicles travelling 318.6 billion vehicle miles in Great Britain for the year ending March 2022 – an increase of 29.7%.

However, that was still 5.9% down on pre-pandemic levels for the year ending December 2019.

Car traffic rolling annual estimates remain lower than those for before the pandemic – down 9.6% when compared to the year ending December 2019.

Prior to the pandemic, car and taxi traffic increased by 5.7% between 2015 and 2019.

Van traffic, however, was higher than levels seen before the pandemic – up 9.9% when compared to the year ending December 2019.

Prior to the pandemic, van traffic increased by 11.8% between 2015 and 2019.

Lorry traffic, meanwhile, was slightly higher than before the pandemic – up 3.2% when compared to the year ending December 2019.

Prior to the pandemic, lorry traffic increased by 2.6% between 2015 and 2019.

RAC head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes said: “Traffic volumes appear to still be below pre-pandemic levels with flexible working patterns that have become commonplace across the UK likely to be a major factor.

“Nonetheless, the trend is upwards, especially so for vans and HGVs – both of which show higher traffic volumes than prior to the pandemic.

“Therefore, it remains vitally important that the Government continues to invest in improving our road network to increase capacity.”

In terms of road traffic by road type, motorway traffic increased by 38%, to 65.4 billion vehicle miles, when compared to the year ending March 2021.

Motorway traffic rolling annual estimates remain lower than those for before the pandemic – down 7.2% when compared to the year ending December 2019.

Prior to the pandemic, motorway traffic increased by 6.0% between 2015 and 2019.

‘A’ road traffic increased by 29.6%, to 138.5 billion vehicle miles, when compared to the year ending March 2021.

‘A’ road traffic levels remain lower than before the pandemic – down 7.8% when compared to the year ending December 2019.

Prior to the pandemic, ‘A’ road traffic increased by 6.5% between 2015 and 2019.

Finally, minor road traffic increased by 25.6%, to 114.3 billion vehicle miles, when compared to the year ending March 2021.

Minor road traffic was lower than levels before the pandemic – down 2.7% when compared to the year ending December 2019.

Prior to the pandemic, minor traffic increased by 4.4% between 2015 and 2019.

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