Roadworks making congestion worse despite flat traffic

A new report from traffic analysts INRIX, ‘London Congestion Trends’, has used big data to highlight the reasons for London’s growing traffic problem – more congestion, but not caused by more cars.

The in-depth study of the causes of traffic congestion in London between 2012 and 2015, identifies roadworks and goods vehicles as the main causes of congestion.

The report’s findings show that congestion in London has risen noticeably between the years of 2012 and 2015, but that vehicle counts are flat or decreasing in Central London and increasing only slightly in Outer London.

Light goods vehicle traffic is increasing in Central London, which is possibly related to the rise in ecommerce, but one of the most significant drivers of increased congestion in London is roadworks, increasing 362% during the period.

So while traffic demand is broadly static, congestion has significantly increased. The two key increases it identifies are the rise in vans and the sharp rise in roadworks, both planned and unplanned.

David Leam, infrastructure director at London First, commented: “London’s roads are increasingly congested, but this isn’t down to a boom in car journeys.

“As this report shows, car traffic is actually decreasing in central London, while van traffic and roadworks have risen significantly.

“What’s needed is for the new mayor to ease off excessive roadworks, build new river crossings, devise a plan for managing freight and revisit measures to control congestion, including charging.”

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