Transport and highways travel reaches record levels


The annual distance passengers travel in Great Britain has reached record levels - boosted by rises in rail, light rail and road traffic, particularly lorries.

Official statistics show that in 2015, total motor vehicle traffic in Great Britain reached a new record level of 317 billion vehicle miles travelled, up 1.4% from since 2014.

However the average delay on local ‘A’ roads in England in 2015 was up 5.4% on the previous year to 44.6 seconds per vehicle per mile. Cars accounted for 64% of trips and 78% of the total distance travelled.

While rail continued to see a rise in passenger numbers – recording a 57% increase in National Rail passenger journeys since 2005/06 – rail freight saw a dramatic fall.


Image from DfT

In 2015/16, 17.8 billion net tonne kilometres of freight were moved by rail down 19.8% compared with 2014/15.

Local bus passenger journeys in Great Britain continued their decline, falling by around 1.5 billion or roughly a third over the last three decades.

In 2015, lorry traffic and light rail both continued to see major increases in passenger journeys.

Light rail and tram systems in Great Britain reached the highest level of passenger journeys since comparable records began in 1983, at 257 million. And lorry traffic rose 4% - its highest increase since the 1980s – meaning it has grown faster than any other vehicle type since 2005.

Little change has been recorded in domestic transport greenhouse gas emissions from heavy goods vehicles from 1990 to 2014, whereas emissions from vans have increased from 10% in 1990 to 15% of the total in 2014.

The cost of travel has risen faster than the cost of living since 1997, with households now spending 14.1% of their expenditure per week on transport in 2014, the latest statistics show.

Almost one in ten adults reported having a mobility difficulty in England in 2015. There was 38% fewer trips by individuals aged 16 and over with mobility difficulties last year, this is despite large gains in public transport accessibility.

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