The Sunday Times Driving Placeholder

News: Commuting times grow longer as the economy picks up

Average speeds in rush hour have fallen to less than 25mph since the recession and the Department for Transport (DfT) has warned that speeds will continue to fall as traffic congestion worsens.


Four lane M25 motorway and gridlocked (mainly) trucks with articulated trailers stuck in queue because of an accident

AS THE economy speeds up, so cars are set to slow down. Average speeds in rush hour have fallen to less than 25mph since the recession and the Department for Transport (DfT) has warned they will continue to fall as traffic congestion worsens.

London is particularly badly affected with speeds in many parts now down to less than 10mph. Outside the capital, rising traffic levels on motorways have led to a reduction in average speeds with the head of the Highways Agency warning that 40mph will become common on the busiest sections.

Government predictions are equally gloomy with officials forecasting that over the next 25 years, average speeds on motorways will fall by 8%, while delays will more than double.

A spokesman for the Highways Agency said it had succeeded in making motorway journeys more reliable but that “now we need to make them quicker as well.”

Meanwhile, a driver who abandoned his Toyota Avensis outside the Bank of England yesterday did nothing to help congestion in the capital. Witnesses said the man got out of the 11-year-old car with its stereo still playing and walked into the nearby Bank underground station. His action triggered a major security operation and police are searching for him.