On the 50th anniversary of Britain's first motorway, a new report has slammed Government plans to manage traffic growth on the current road network.
The RAC Foundation says that measures such as road widening and hard-shoulder running will fail to improve motorway capacity or reduce congestion, because existing junctions and key access roads will not be able to cope with the increased volumes of traffic.
According to the report, the Government's strategy should focus on developing the motorway network for five main reasons:
- 1 Motorways have lower accident rates than other roads
- 2 Motorways are generally farther away from residential and commercial developments
- 3 Motorways allow for higher capacities and service levels than other roads
- 4 New by-pass routes will largely be able to join up with existing main routes
- 5 The British motorway network is sparse by European standards;
The report also says that concentrating all road improvements on the existing network rather than building new motorways would have the following implications:
Encourage heavy goods vehicles to use inappropriate routes through residential areas, especially where no nearby motorway exists
Reduce the resilience of the overall road network and increases the likelihood of network failure due to a lack of alternative routes
Concentrate more traffic on existing routes and increase the likelihood of serious congestion
Increase pressure on junction and feeder roads that were designed for lower levels of traffic. Continued motorway widening and hard shoulder running activities will increase the traffic pressure seen at intersections
The Government is considering proposals to widen existing motorways and to charge motorists for using the hard shoulder.