A study by polling agency Walnut Unlimited commissioned by The Go-Ahead Group highlights the level of inconvenience suffered by road users from traffic congestion.The study showed that commuters could gain more than 55 extra hours of sleep annually if it weren’t for traffic jams.
Commuters leave home an average of 13 minutes early every day to allow for jams on Britain’s roads.
By building in a 13-minute buffer on every morning journey, commuters are missing out on an hour and five minutes of extra sleep a week, or just over 55 hours’ free time annually.
Even with this buffer, many are still late – 40% of road commuters have been late for work over the last six months due to traffic jams, while 18% have been late for a family event. Perhaps the worst suffering are the one in 20 (4%) who admit to being late to a job interview thanks to a traffic jam.
Official figures show that traffic congestion is getting worse, with delays on A roads up by more than 10% since 2014. Last year, the Centre for Economics and Business Research estimated that congestion would cost the British economy more than £300bn by 2030.
Martin Dean, MD of Bus Development at Go-Ahead Group, said: “Traffic congestion causes frustration, anxiety and inconvenience. It hurts Britain’s productivity as well as affecting quality of life.
“Public transport can be a part of the solution to that problem – a fully loaded double-decker bus can take as many as 75 private cars off the road, easing congestion and improving air quality. Yet unfortunately we’re seeing many local authorities cutting back on funding for local buses as they face a budget squeeze.
“This study shows the true impact traffic jams have on peoples’ lives. It’s in everybody’s interests to get the country moving more quickly.”
Congestion affects those who travel by bus as well as those who drive. Go-Ahead’s research finds that the typical bus passenger hits a tipping point of impatience after 20 minutes, 16 seconds in stationary traffic, prompting them to get off and walk.
Asked what should be done to improve speeds on the roads, 51% of respondents advocated more investment in public transport, while 30% backed workplace incentives to subsidise bus travel. Only one in five (22%) suggested building more roads.