Wherever you drive across the UK, it is extremely likely that you will have to pass at least one set of roadworks or progress steadily through some temporary speed limits. These may cause you some frustration, but consider just how much they may also be slowing down the progression of firms which rely on our roads to get their workers from one job to the next — each time such a staff member is caught in a traffic jam, the amount they will be able to get completed in a working day will obviously be reduced.
Across the UK during 2016, Inrix worked out that there were over 1.35 million traffic jams — costing the economy an estimated £9 billion as a result. November 2016 marked the worst month for the number of traffic jams, with over 169,000 recorded across the country – 50% worse than the average number. But how does this effect businesses who rely on the British roads? Northgate Vehicle Hire, a specialist van leasing provider, investigates.
Sometimes there is nothing we can do about traffic jams, with accidents on our roads seeing these naturally occurring as a knock-on effect. What about traffic which can be avoided though? A significant amount of traffic jams are caused as a result of roadworks and temporary speed limits, which is why the Local Government Association (LGA) have been calling for action by the government to limit the amount of roadworks that are carried out across the country, to reduce the risk of gridlock. Whilst it is also causing unnecessary carbon emissions and fuel, it also wastes a lot of drivers’ time – even more valuable time for those who are working between different locations.
Did you know that the average driver will spend 32 hours stuck in traffic jams over the course of a year throughout peak periods of the day? This figure doesn’t necessarily account for drivers who drive for a living and are on the roads the majority of the day or night. For businesses which charge their customers an hourly rate, that is a loss of at least 32 hours of work – if you charge £15 an hour, that would be around £480 annually per employee. If you run a business of 15 employees, that is a minimum annual loss of £7,200 as a result of wasted time stuck in traffic.
Each year, 2.5 million road openings can be put down to utility companies digging. Three quarters of small businesses say the roadworks have a negative impact on their business as a result, whether it is wasting valuable time in traffic, reducing sales or loss of earnings. It is no wonder roadworks cause such chaos on the roads when utility works supposedly reduces road life by at least a third, and when temporary speed limits are also set in place, the overall flow of traffic on the road becomes slower. If government figures are to be believed, the state of UK roads and traffic jams are only to get worse – traffic levels are expected to increase by around 55% by 2040.
Traffic jams and roadworks may prove especially frustrating to those with businesses in and around Belfast. In 2015, average congestion on the roads was at 40%, meaning businesses lost around 24 working days per vehicle per year. Overall, Belfast businesses experience around £12,673,050 cost as a result of road congestion. The remainder of the UK’s 10 most congested cities and towns rank as followed, according to CityAM.com:
|Rank||City/Town||Average Congestion||Working days lost per vehicle per year||Cost to business|
“Making the most of billable time is key to profitability for any business, so organisations that rely heavily on a mobile workforce must look for ways to maximise the time employees spend actually doing jobs by minimising time spent on the road,” acknowledges, Beverley Wise, the director of TomTom Telematics in the UK and Ireland.
Businesses could continue to face further headaches in relation to roadworks and traffic jams though, especially since it has been forecasted that traffic levels will continue to rise across the UK in the years to come.