Department for Transport Estimated Traffic Figures For 2013
Department for Transport figures suggest that the volume of traffic has risen throughout the country. As such, in the second quarter of 2013 the total mileage covered by motorised vehicles rose 2.9% to 76.8 billion miles (estimated/compared to the same period in 2012). This follows five consecutive falls between second quarters so despite the rise the total mileage is 1.9% lower than in 2007. And it seems that every type of motorist was on the move. Car traffic therefore increased 2.3% to 60.8 billion miles and light goods vehicle traffic hit 10.7 billion. This represented a 6.1% rise compared to the previous year and the highest quarterly figure since estimates began. Heavy goods vehicle traffic, in contrast, increased 1.7% to 3.9 billion miles and other motor vehicle traffic – that included motorbikes, buses, and coaches – rose by 8.6% to 1.4 billion miles. The Department for Transport's estimated figures suggest that the rise in volume was evident on all types of road. As such, the total estimated motorway mileage increased 4.9%, to 16.1 billion miles. This was the largest rise of the quarter. In contrast, the smallest was for urban A roads where traffic increased by 0.7%, to 12.2 billion miles. Furthermore, the volume on rural/urban roads rose 2.3%/2.5% respectively.
How Department for Transport Calculates Traffic Volume
The Department for Transport's quarterly figures are based on recordings from automatic traffic counters. These can be found throughout the country and – in certain forms – can classify the type of vehicle they are monitoring, e.g. bus, car, motorbike, lorry, etc. How? By measuring factors such as axle spacing and the subject's length. This technology, however, is not perfect so some vehicles are misclassified. As such, the Department for Transport's annual figures are more reliable as they also incorporate data from 8,000 manual traffic counts. Interestingly, there are several elements that influence the volume of traffic (or so the government claims). Most notable is the strength of the economy. Why? Because when the country is booming financially people and products move in greater numbers and more frequently than when it is struggling. There are, after all, more people travelling to work that can then afford to purchase items that have to be transported by road. Weather plays its part too, as a particularly frosty winter or pleasant summer can discourage/encourage drivers to take to the roads.