October 18th, 2007
It’s amazing what the evolving intelligent monitoring systems can deduce about the world we live in, and for some, the insight offered can be a real incentive to stay at home for the day. Today is such a day if you’re a road user in the UK. Trafficmaster maintains a traffic monitoring network of 7,500 sensors, covering 8,000 miles of UK motorways and trunk roads plus it offers the Smartnav intelligent satellite navigation and traffic information service, so its historic traffic data and analysis carries some weight. The second Trafficmaster/ RAC Foundation UK Congestion Report is warning that today, Friday, October 19th, will be the worst day of the year for travelling by car because of a peak in traffic congestion which it has dubbed ‘Black Friday.’
Traffic jams may be traditionally associated with Bank Holidays or Christmas, but a number of specific factors are expected to combine to make tonight’s rush hour longer and more congested than any of Britain’s regular public holidays. These factors include darker (and possibly wetter) weather encouraging more drivers to use major roads, a high level of commuting and commercial traffic and a rise in accidents.
Elsewhere in the report, the nation’s worst congestion hotspot is revealed. Up from second position six months ago, the Western sector of the M25 is officially the most congested stretch of road in Britain, replacing the M1 in Hertfordshire, where traffic has eased slightly thanks to a higher temporary speed limit.
The report also reveals the real traffic speed of the UK’s motorways. The average traffic flow speed of our motorways is a healthy 67.5 mph, although there are significant differences in their overall efficiency. Scotland can boast both the most efficient motorway – the A74(M), with an overall real average speed of 69.9mph – and the least – the M8, at only 53.4mph.