The ‘Road Traffic Estimates: Great Britain 2015’ report shows that van traffic continued to grow more quickly than any other vehicle type, rising 4.2% from 2014 levels.
The data also indicates that car traffic levels reached a record level in 2015 with a slight increase to 247.7 billion vehicle miles while traffic overall continued to grow last year, albeit more moderately to previous years, and reached 316.7 billion vehicle miles.
Lorry traffic saw the largest year-on-year increase since the 1980s, growing by 3.7% from 2014.
Motorways carried 66.5 billion vehicle miles of traffic, 2.6% more than in 2014 and 10% more than 10 years ago.
Long term traffic trends show that since the 1950s the long term trend in traffic has been one of growth: vehicle miles travelled in 2015 are over ten times higher than in 1949.
However, over the last 20 years there has been a decline in the rate of traffic growth. Between 2007 and 2010 after the recent recession, motor vehicle traffic fell for three consecutive years. This was followed by a period of stability until 2013.
In response RAC roads policy spokesman Nick Lyes said: “While traffic has only increased very slightly on the previous year it has taken us to record levels, but the longer term picture is more concerning with overall traffic since 1995 growing by 18.6% in stark contrast to the overall length of our roads which has only increased by 2.4%.
“Having a road network that is fit for purpose, in terms of being able to cope with increased traffic as well as being maintained to an acceptable level, is vital for a prosperous economy. There is little doubt that the Government’s Road Investment Strategy recognises the importance of this, but these figures show there is a lot of catching up that must be done.”