Roadworks and temporary speed limits will very likely be encountered by motorists wherever they drive in the UK. While they will cause drivers plenty of frustration, such work can also slow down the progression of businesses who rely on the nation’s roads to get from one job to the next. This is because workers will be limited by how much they can get done in a working day, as they need to factor in additional time for traffic and disruptions caused by roadworks and temporary speed limits.
Inrix has reported that there were more than 1.35 million traffic jams recorded throughout the UK in 2016 alone, which cost the nation’s economy around £9 billion. 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? Long term van hire specialists, Northgate Vehicle Hire investigate.
Traffic jams sometimes cannot be avoided, as they naturally occur when accidents unfortunately occur on our roads. How 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.
During peak periods of the day, it is reported that the average driver will be stuck in traffic jams for 32 hours on an annual basis. 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.
Utility companies’ digging is being accounted for 2.5 million road openings which occur each year. 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.
Those employed at or setting up businesses in Belfast should be particularly concerned by the cost that roadworks and traffic jams will have on their working life. 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:
|Working days lost per vehicle per year
|Cost to business
TomTom Telematics’ director in the UK and Ireland, Beverley Wise, pointed out: “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.”
With forecasts predicting that traffic levels will continue to increase throughout the UK though, businesses look likely to continue facing headaches when it comes to roadworks in the future.