Leader comment: Roads must be transport priority

There are few more frustrating components of modern life than the traffic jam, sitting there going nowhere is the very definition of a waste of time.

A new report has said that traffic congestion cost the UK economy £31billion last year.
A new report has said that traffic congestion cost the UK economy £31billion last year.

Some might dismiss it as a typical “first world problem” but there is a very serious underlying point. Research from traffic information company Inrix has found that drivers are spending an average of 32 hours a year stuck in jams, but more importantly have put a cost on it of £31 billion last year, at an average of £968 per driver.

There are some interesting conclusions that can be drawn from the findings. The report shows that generally the congestion is worse in the UK’s most populous cities, but Glasgow, the UK’s fourth biggest city by population, does not make the top ten.

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The report shows that Aberdeen eclipsed London for congestion at peak periods last year as the hardest city to get into or out of. Coming number three on the list, and yet being number 47 on the list of UK cities by population, it would seem to buck the general trend, but perhaps the survey has not taken in to account the work building the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route and the disruption that has been causing and will continue to cause for some months to come.

Perhaps the greatest frustration of traffic jams is the knowledge that at certain times, on certain roads, you are certain to hit a traffic jam. It is all down to sheer volume of vehicles and the road structure not being capable of dealing with it.

While it is right to encourage alternative greener forms of transport, the reality is that we do have to have roads that are fit for purpose, because when they are not it comes at a cost to the environment and to the economy.