Traffic in Britain hits highest level with 317.8bn miles travelled


Traffic on Britain's roads reached its highest ever level last year and congestion continued to rise, official figures show.

Some 317.8 billion miles were travelled across the country in 2015, according to the Department for Transport (DfT), up 2.2% on the previous year.

The figure is 1.1% more than the pre-recession peak in the year ending September 2007.

The growth in deliveries of goods bought online is highlighted by van traffic rising faster than any other type of vehicle, up 6.1% year-on-year to 47.7 billion miles.

Car traffic increased by 1.7% to 248.6 billion miles.

Separate DfT congestion figures show that average speeds on A roads during the morning peak have fallen for almost four years.

Drivers travelled at an average of 23.4mph in the year ending in December, down from 25.4mph in the 12 months to March 2012.

Steve Gooding, director of motoring research charity the RAC Foundation, said: "The economy is doing well, the population is rising and the number of cars on Britain's roads has risen to a record 30 million.

"It is van traffic which is growing fastest, reflecting business recovery and probably the growing shift towards online shopping and home delivery.

"There is more of the same on the horizon with the Department for Transport predicting further traffic growth on the motorways of anywhere between 30% and 60% over the next 25 years depending on what happens to fuel prices and Britain plc."