Journeys on the strategic road network are becoming more reliable - why?

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After a sharp decline in the 12 months to March 2013, where the percentage of on time journeys on the UK strategic road network fell from 81.5% to 77.2%, the latest figures shows a reversal of that trend. There have been improvements across the 12 months to April 2014, the figure now stands at 78%. We explored this trend previously.

Source: DfT and EEF analysis

In 2011, the number of vehicles using UK motorways (as recorded in billion vehicle miles) increased unexpectedly - after declining for three years - this goes someway to explain the decline in reliability on the network.

The latest pick up in reliability - despite the continued growth in road use - could be attributed to such short term schemes like the Pinch Point programme which has been rolled out on both the local and strategic road networks. The Highways Agency lists the number of schemes which have been started and completed since 2011.

Source: DfT and EEF analysis

The UK road network is a major part of our business environment - when it works no one notices, when it doesn't the cumulative cost can hamper growth and economic performance.

EEF's member surveys have consistently shown that the UK transport network serves as a drag on Britain's attractiveness as a place to invest.

Source: EEF 2012 Investment Survey

It is for this reason that the Government is rightly taking steps to ensure that spare capacity on the network isn't hindered by the current set up of the Highways Agency.

The reforms being developed should help to move the UK into a position where we are not simply expanding road capacity to address existing congestion but creating spare capacity to ensure there are no barriers to future growth and productivity.


Head of Business Environment Policy

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