Over four in five adults think that congestion is a serious problem in Great Britain and nine in ten think that it is important for Government to tackle the problem according to a the annual ‘Public attitudes towards congestion’ report from the DfT. The report makes clear that the majority of people consider congestion to be a serious problem for the country which needs action from Government, but the level of concern has fallen slightly over the last 2 years.
Other key findings about congestion include:
- Just under a quarter of adults said that congestion was a problem for the majority of their journeys (a similar level to 2 years ago but more than the proportion reported last year)
- Three in ten said that road congestion was rarely a problem for them.
- Two-fifths of adults thought that congestion was rarely a problem for them on their most frequent journey, while a quarter thought that congestion was a problem for the majority of these journeys.
- Sixty six per cent of adults said that congestion was worse in and around towns than on major routes although this percentage drops slightly for those who frequently use motorways.
- A quarter of motorway users said they experienced motorway congestion on a majority of these journeys, an increase on the proportion reported last year, and three in ten said unreliable journey times was the main cause of their concern.
- Two in five motorway users said they routinely start their journey at different times to avoid congestion and over a third said they tend to take different routes or avoid motorways completely.
The findings for motorways are particularly interesting as they highlight the public’s rising concerns about delays and major incidents on the strategic road network, which to many appear to be becoming a more common occurrence, despite improving published journey reliability data.
The continued role of the car in every day life was once again highlighted by the ‘patterns and frequency of road use’ section of the report, where the vast majority of car drivers (88%) said they used their car at least twice a week, with most saying they drove everyday.
The question of the ‘effectiveness and fairness of alternative road charging schemes’ was also raised with over half of adults agreed that the current system of paying for road use should change so that the amount people pay is based on how often, when and where they use the roads. Those agreeing with the principle of a different charging system thought that charging more for either busy times / busy roads was the most suitable way forward.
Three in ten adults thought that a new charging scheme based on times of travel and specific route taken would work in reducing congestion while over half said it would not. Almost three in five of those who felt such a scheme wouldn’t work believed that people would either not be able to change their behaviour or wouldn’t want to. Twenty six per cent of adults said that a new charging scheme based on these principles would be fair to road users, down from 2 years ago, while 55 per cent thought it would be unfair. When asked whether they would be prepared to accept road pricing as long as there was no overall increase in the amount paid by motorists as a whole, 38 per cent agreed while 34 per cent disagreed. 2 years ago, 41 per cent agreed and 35 per cent disagreed. Almost half of adults said that money raised from such a scheme should be spent solely on roads and transport while over one in ten maintained that they didn’t agree with it under any circumstances.