LONDON — Congestion will cost the British economy as much as £307 billion by 2030, and the government needs to take urgent action to lower the economic cost of the UK’s crumbling road infrastructure, according to a report from a prominent think-tank.
The report from the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) and titled “The economic effect of road investment” focuses on the argument that the British authorities have neglected to invest substantially in roads, preferring to invest heavily in rail projects like HS2 and Crossrail.
This, CEBR said, is costing the economy dearly, both in direct monetary costs and in lost time and manpower.
Here’s the key paragraph from the report, commissioned by the FairFuel UK campaign
“We calculate the total cumulative cost of congestion in the UK to be £307 billion from 2013 to 2030. Of this, total direct costs are £191 billion, and indirect costs equal £115 billion. By 2030, we estimate the total cost of congestion per household will be £2,057. From 2013 to 2030, the annual cost of road congestion will have risen 63%.”
The report — which suggests that Brits lose nine seconds of time for every mile they travel — puts forward three key direct money drains caused by the UK’s poor roads:
- “The opportunity cost of the time wasted due to delays through road congestion (which includes ‘planning time’ for the possibility of traffic delays)”
- “The cost of the wasted fuel whilst vehicles are sat idle in traffic”
- “The impact of traffic congestion on the environment, and social costs involved”
CEBR also notes so-called indirect costs, which impact travelling for business and transporting freight, pushing up the cost of goods and services.
“Congestion affects these activities, imposing a higher cost of doing business, which is passed through to households through higher prices for consumer goods and services. The higher the congestion level, the greater both the direct and indirect costs will be,” the report’s authors note.
CEBR said the country’s roads are the just the 27th best on earth, despite Britain being a top five economy, and road quality is worse than Ecuador, Spain, Malaysia, Taiwan and Oman, among many others.
“By comparative European standards, Britain’s roads are far off the pace, and the country’s road infrastructure ranks amongst the lowest in major developed economies. The cost of this, in lost time and unreliability, is huge. Congestion is also extremely costly environmentally,” the report concludes.