Drivers in the UK are wearyingly familiar with roadworks and temporary speed limits up and down the country. We all know the frustration it can cause. For some businesses relying on our roads to get from job to job and place to place, these holdups with their inevitable temporary speed limits can slow down their progression. This cuts down on the working day as they have to make allowance for traffic and disruptions caused by these inconveniences. As a side effect, traffic jams also increase emissions from cars.
Statistics show that during 2016 there were over 1.35million traffic jams across Britain. The cost to the economy was approximately £9 billion, at least according to Inrix (a global company specialising in road traffic and driver services). November that year marked the worst month recording over 169,000 jams; that’s fifty percent worse than the average number.
But how does this effect businesses who rely on the British roads? Long term van hire specialists, Northgate Vehicle Hire investigate.
Can You Avoid The Unavoidable Traffic Jams?
Probably not. Some traffic jams are unavoidable and for varying reasons. Accidents happen, and when they happen you can bet a traffic jam will follow; but what about traffic that could be avoided?
As drivers will be aware, a significant amount of traffic jams are caused as a result of road works and temporary speed limits. For this reason the Local Government Association have been calling for action by the government to limit the amount of road works that are carried out across the country. The idea is to reduce the risk of gridlock.
The average driver, we learn, reportedly spends around thirty-two hours a year stuck in traffic jams during peak periods. What’s worse is that this figure doesn’t necessarily account for drivers who drive for a living, and are on the roads the majority of the day or night.
For businesses that charge clients by the hour, that’s a lot of earnings lost and this is compounded for larger concerns as they have more employees.
Negative Impact Of Infrastructure Maintenance
Many traffic jams are caused by utility companies digging and three quarters of small businesses say that road works have a negative impact on their business as a result through wasting valuable time in traffic and reducing sales or loss of earnings.
What’s more concerning is that Utility road works, which cause such chaos on the roads, allegedly reduce road life by at least a third often made worse still by temporary speed limits.
If government figures are to be believed, the situation is going to get even more fraught. Traffic levels are expected to increase by around 55% by 2040.
Looking at the regions across the UK that are most likely to be affected by traffic jams and road works, businesses in Belfast are the ones who should worry the most about the cost impact of road works and traffic jams. In 2015, average congestion on the roads was at forty percent which means businesses lost around 24 working days per vehicle per year. The remainder of the UK’s 10 most congested cities and towns rank as followed, according to CityAM.com:
|Rank||City/Town||Average Congestion||Working days lost per vehicle per year||Cost to business|
Beverley Wise, director for TomTom Telematics in the UK and Ireland commented: “Making the most of billable time is key to profitability for any business, so organisations that rely heavily on a mobile workforce must look for ways to maximise the time employees spend actually doing jobs by minimising time spent on the road.”
The sad truth is that if these forecasts are correct and traffic levels do continue to rise across Great Britain, it seems clear that businesses could be faced with a significant loss.