The Congestion Situation
Traffic congestion in the West Midlands poses a number of environmental, social and economic challenges for the area. Whether it is business groups estimating that congestion is costing the West Midlands £2.5 billion per year in lost productivity and opportunity restriction or a pensioner in the region trying to visit their GP via public transport, congestion is a topical issue.
- Motorways in the West Midlands Metropolitan Area have higher traffic levels than motorways in the London and Greater Manchester regions. (Regional Transport Statistics 17th November 2005, Department for Transport)
- The amount of traffic on urban roads in the Metropolitan Area was the highest in Britain (50% above the national average). (Department for Transport)
- The scale of the congestion challenge in the West Midlands has led to the building of a local political consensus around exploring all of the options for solutions to congestion, including road pricing.
- Birmingham City Council cordon count data shows a decrease of 11.9% in morning rush hour trips into the centre since 1995 (94,648 trips in 2003) (West Midlands Local Transport Plan submission, 2006)
- Between 2001 and 2011, traffic levels are predicted to increase in the area by 15 per cent. (West Midlands Local Transport Plan submission, 2006)
- As a result of regeneration in the West Midlands, an additional 242 million trips are forecast within the area between 2001 and 2011. Of these, 68.1 per cent (165 million) are expected to be by car. (West Midlands Local Transport Plan submission, 2006)
- Three quarters of drivers polled in the area felt that the West Midlands should consider the pros and cons of a variety of options for tackling congestion, including road pricing. (West Midlands Local Transport Plan submission, 2006)