Roads and Traffic - Problems and Solutions

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The carbon impact of the national roads programme

New research by Transport for Quality  of Life shows that the Government’s flagship road investment strategy (RIS2) of £27 billion over 5 years threatens the UK’s commitments on climate change. The report shows the roads programme will add 20 million tonnes of carbon dioxide to UK emissions from the Strategic Road Network (SRN) between now and 2032 whereas those emissions need to be cut by 167 million tonnes to meet climate targets.


Download:  The carbon impact of the national roads programme [2Mb, 28 pages]

Infographic carbon impact of roads programmeInfographic2_The carbon impact of the roads programme

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The Impact of Road Projects in England

This report draws on official evaluations from over 80 road schemes and four original case studies to provide a 20-year ‘long view’ of the impacts of road building. It finds any benefits of road schemes in terms of congestion relief are short-lived; environmental damage from road schemes is permanent; and there is very little evidence that road schemes deliver economic benefits.

The report documents how the present road-dominated approach to development leads to car-dependent sprawl which is environmentally damaging and afflicted by congestion. It recommends much tighter focusing of development at existing larger settlements that offer facilities close to hand and strong public transport hubs. The report also concludes that the official evaluation process is deeply flawed and recommends Highways England should no longer be evaluator of its own schemes.

Commissioned by CPRE. (2017)

Download:  The Impact of Road Projects in England [6Mb, 137 pages]

Traffic Noise in Rural Areas: Personal Experiences of People Affected

Five case studies gathered qualitative evidence of the under-reported issues arising from traffic noise in rural areas.  Findings fell into two broad categories: surprisingly severe experience of noise where people live near busy rural roads, even to the extent of health problems; and significant degradation of how the countryside is experienced at far greater distances from roads than official assessment procedures consider, leading to people avoiding visiting some of Britain’s most beautiful places.

Carried out for The Noise Association with funding from Esmee Fairbairn Foundation. (2008)

Download: Traffic Noise in Rural Areas: Personal Experiences of People Affected [pdf 706kB]


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Beyond Transport Infrastructure: Lessons for the Future from Recent Road Projects

This report examined the effects of road schemes on traffic growth, landscape
and development pressure. It looked at the appraisal process before a road is built and the evaluation process afterwards. There are three detailed case studies: the Newbury Bypass, M65 Blackburn Southern Bypass and Polegate Bypass. The study showed traffic growth far in excess of official predictions and unsustainable car-based development. It highlighted the failure of the appraisal process to capture these important real-life consequences of road-building.

The work was commissioned by the Countryside Agency and CPRE and the project team was Transport and Environment consultancy, Transport for Quality of Life, and John Elliott Consultancy. (2006)

A short follow-up to the main report analysed the Highways Agency’s 5-year-after Post Project Evaluation of the Newbury Bypass which was released subsequent to completion of the main report. (2006)

Download: full report Beyond Transport Infrastructure [pdf 949kB]

Download: summary version Beyond Transport Infrastructure [pdf 647kB]

Download: Follow-up Analysis of Newbury Bypass [pdf 65kB]