FTA ‘concerned’ over journey time reliability figures

The Freight Transport Association has expressed concern over the discrepancy between industry opinion and government statistics following publication of official figures from Highways England showing that journey time reliability, although still below 80 per cent, marginally improved over the past year.

FTA members consistently report that journey reliability has been getting worse over the past year, not better.

Malcolm Bingham, FTA’s head of road network management policy, said: “Our members’ perception does not match that suggested by the official figures.  The latest Highways England statistics show an improvement in journey reliability – but our own information indicates that this is not the case for the vast majority of our members, who tell us that they have consistently experienced a decrease in reliability over the past year.”

Journey time reliability is crucial for road freight operators, who need to be able to route and schedule journeys accurately in order to avoid delays with deliveries.  FTA currently estimates that it costs around £1 a minute for a 44 tonne truck to queue in traffic.

Malcolm Bingham continued: “As the economy picks up, demand for freight inevitably will increase, putting additional pressure on already busy roads.  Add to this the disruption which will result from the – very welcome – roads improvements planned by Highways England and we have a very challenging situation.  An efficient roads network is essential if the economy is to continue to grow – Highways England therefore must maintain focus on improving reliability and working with the freight industry to ensure improvements can be delivered with a minimum amount of impact on businesses.”

Previously FTA voiced its support for the Road Investment Strategy (RIS), which was announced by the Department for Transport in December 2014, stating that it believed it was good news for all road users.  The RIS outlines plans for £15 billion to be spent over five years on 1,300 new lane miles on motorways and trunk roads in order to reduce congestion, and fix some of the most notorious and longstanding problem areas on the UK road network.

Respondents to the FTA Logistics Industry Survey 2014/15 rated road improvements as their top priority for the new government.  The results of the survey are published in The Logistics Report 2015, launched by FTA on 20 May.

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