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Government Predicts Commuters Will Return to their Cars

June 28, 2016

The Department for Transport has suggested that in the next 25 years more commuters will swap to travelling by car, rather than using public transport or cycling. Their forecast predicts that all modes of transport available will drop in popularity by 2040. Cars will be the only exception. Whilst this may sound worrying it is important to note the figures to note include the Department for Transport’s Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy. This strategy hadn’t been fully finalised when the forecast was made.

Figures from 2015 showed that people in the UK made around 22.1 journeys by bike but the predictions believe this will fall to 20.5 by 2040 with journeys by bus dropping by around a quarter too.

UK Traffic

The figures also found that 453.4 car journeys took place in 2015 and this will increase to 503.9 per year by 2040. Even more interestingly many of these journeys will be single occupancy. The figures predict that there will be fewer passenger trips by car. The Department for Tranport modelling forecasts have been reported in a number of news outlets including The Times and road.cc. It was in The Times that comment was given by former Shadow Transport Secretary, Lillian Greenwood, who said:

“Ministers claim that they will double cycling journeys by 2025 but their own projections predict that cycling will tail off. It’s now clearer than ever that plans to cut walking and cycling funding by over 70 per cent will hasten this decline and lead to even more cars on congested and poorly maintained roads.”

There are fears for the congestion levels in the UK and the maintenance of roads if the number of cars is set to increase. Despite the Department for Transport promises £61bn to deliver better transport connections, they have already reported in their own press releases that bicycle use was down in 2015. This coincides with figures which show an estimated 316.7bn traffic miles logged in the same year, an increase on 2014 and provision estimated for future years are also on the up.

More Cars, More Risk of Accidents

The more cars there are on our roads the higher the risk of accidents. Whilst it is understandable that people need to drive to get around, there is a concern when the number continues to swell. The government has committed to improving the cycling and walking infrastructure across England and Wales and we will have to wait and see if this effects traffic levels.

Image credit: © Copyright John Winder and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence