Invest in rail freight to cut road congestion
New research shows that sending more goods by rail has the potential to dramatically reduce road congestion on some of the country’s busiest trunk roads. The research used road freight data from MDS Transmodal’s GB Freight Model (GBFM) to examine information on the origins and destinations of road freight on key sections of the Strategic Road Network and also provided data on HGV trip lengths.
The research, by consultants MTRU for the Campaign for Better Transport and sponsored by the Department for Transport, looked at the economic benefits of using the railways to reduce road congestion and improve productivity. In particular, the research examined the potential of increasing rail freight capacity along four heavily congested freight routes:
- The A14 between Felixstowe and the Midlands
- The A34 from Southampton to the Midlands;
- On the M6 motorway between the Midlands and the North West and;
- The M62 motorway across the Pennines.
The research found that upgrading existing rail lines, which run parallel to the motorway routes and are currently nearing full capacity, would allow large numbers of these lorry loads to be transferred to rail. The report also argued that as more rail freight interchanges become operational there is further scope to transfer traffic to rail.