Congestion on the roads could more than double over the next three decades despite rising numbers of driverless cars, according to analysis. Estimates by the Department for Transport (DfT) show that up to 16 per cent of roads will be clogged up by 2050 compared with 7 per cent at present. It is expected to result in slower vehicle speeds and longer travel times, with journeys taking 20 minutes on average rather than 17 now. The study forecast that the number of vehicles on British roads will grow by as much as 51 per cent. Officials said that the increase would be driven by population change combined with a drop in vehicle running costs. Growth in the number of zero-emission electric cars would have a significant impact, with motorists no longer having to spend thousands of pounds a year on fuel. Manufacturers have face d criticism over the high purchase price of existing electric cars but this is expected to drop as the technology becomes more mainstream. The government has set a target of making sure that all new models from 2040 are emission-free. This shift would lead to a sharp drop in emissions, the study said, with roadside carbon dioxide levels falling by up to 76 per cent by 2050 and deadly nitrogen oxides declining by 95 per cent. The analysis was based on an assumption of “no further planned improvements” to the road network beyond 2025, suggesting that congestion could be cut by government spending.
Times 19th Sept 2018 read more »