It is proof of what we have probably all seen with our own eyes: every tenth vehicle on the road is now a van.
The number of vans (light commercial vehicles or LCVs) on Britain’s roads has been rising more than 2.5 times quicker than cars.
Between 2002 and 2012, the number of vans increased by 29% to 3.3 million.
Over the same period the number of cars rose by 11% to 28.7 million. By comparison, over the same decade the number of lorries (heavy goods vehicles or HGVs) on British roads fell by 5% to 460,000.
The highest percentage change in van ownership over that period was seen in the North East, followed by the South West and Wales. This is the full table:
|REGION||Number of vans – 2002||Number of vans – 2012||% change 2012 on 2002|
|Yorks & Humber||182,000||246,000||35.2%|
The RAC Foundation commissioned a report from the consultancy company AECOM to try and better understand what has been happening with van traffic. It shows that:
- Almost one in two (44%) of UK registered vans visit London each year
- In Europe only France, Spain and Italy have more vans registered than Britain
- 95% of vans are diesel powered
- 20% of vans change hands each year
- 3% of vans (112,000) are 20 or more years older
- Van traffic in Britain is predicted to almost double by 2040, rising twice as fast as overall traffic.
What exactly is behind all this? We can of course speculate.
In 2013 three-quarters of British adults shopped online and we have the highest rate of internet shopping in the EU. Intuitively you would think this has resulted in a big rise in home deliveries and hence van use but more research is needed in this area.
There is also reason to believe hauliers are switching away from larger vehicles because of changing delivery patterns and growing environmental restrictions on HGVs. It could also be that more and more people are running their own businesses and need a van to carry their goods and tools.
With congestion set to grow understanding this key aspect of road transport is vital.