Only a few days to go: We’re raising £25,000 to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can hold their elected representatives to account.

Donate to our crowdfunder

Road Traffic

Transport written question – answered on 14th July 2008.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of John Spellar John Spellar Labour, Warley

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what change there has been in levels of traffic congestion in the 10 largest urban areas of England in the last three years.

Photo of Rosie Winterton Rosie Winterton Minister of State (Regional Affairs) (Yorkshire and the Humber), Minister of State (Department for Transport)

The following tables show morning peak period speeds across the 10 largest urban areas in England in 2004 and 2006, based on surveys conducted by the Department and Transport for London:

Miles per hour
2000-03 2003-06 2006-09
London( 1)
Central 9.9 10.6 9.3
Inner 11.6 11.7 11.2
Outer 16.9 16.3
(1) Surveys are run over three years for the three areas of London, beginning with the central area and ending with the outer area.
Miles per hour
2002 2004 2006
West Midlands 21.1 20.5 18.9
Greater Manchester 23.2 21.0 18.5
Leeds/Bradford 20.1 20.4 20.8
Tyneside 27.8 24.7 25.5
Merseyside 23.7 19.8 18.7
Sheffield 18.8 18.6 19.0
Bristol 23.2 19.0 20.2
Nottingham 15.9 16.4 16.5
Leicester 15.6 14.7 15.8

The 10 largest urban areas set congestion targets as part of the Department's urban congestion PSA indicator, using a new, more detailed data source. The following table shows the first report of progress towards these targets, in terms of the percentage change in person journey time per mile from the baseline(1) to 2006-07 (percentage increases reflect slower journey times).

(1) The baseline is a mix of 2004-05 and 2005-06 data. Comparable data before the baseline are not available.

Change in person journey times (progress to 2006-07) -3.5 -3.4 -4.3 -3.0 -1.0 -2.3 2.2 -0.4 -1.3 1.6 -2.4
Change in person journey times (2010-11 target) 1.5 0.0 5.1 7.6 7.0 5.0 7.0 14.0 6.25 10.5 3.6

1. LO London, GM Greater Manchester, ME Merseyside, SY South Yorkshire, TW Tyne and Wear, WM West Midlands, WY West Yorkshire, BR Bristol, LE Leicester, NO Nottingham

2. The percentage changes of less than 2 per cent. are unlikely to be statistically significant; that is not necessarily indicative of real changes in congestion.

The urban congestion indicator covers key routes in each urban area (mainly principal A roads) during the weekday morning peak, excluding school holidays. Congestion in urban areas is measured by "person journey time per mile". Person journey times per mile are the average journey times per mile experienced by individual road users, rather than the vehicle average. These take into account average vehicle journey times, average vehicle occupancies and the number of vehicles on the route segment (vehicle flow). Figures are based on the academic year (September to August).

The data in the aforementioned table was published in the 2008 Departmental Annual Report, Annex D, available at:

Does this answer the above question?

Yes1 person thinks so

No0 people think not

Would you like to ask a question like this yourself? Use our Freedom of Information site.