Page last updated at 00:00 GMT, Monday, 15 March 2010

Road travel 'needs big overhaul' to avoid gridlock

Traffic in London
The CBI suggest staggered commute times

There needs to be a "radical overhaul" of road travel in the UK to avoid future gridlock, the CBI business organisation has warned.

It said measures that need to be explored include staggered work commutes, increased car sharing, and more working from home.

The CBI estimates road congestion now costs the UK economy up to £8bn a year.

It warned this could more than double by 2025 unless more action is taken to tackle the problem.

'Cause of frustration'

The CBI said road investment should focus on congestion "pinch points", and that there should be greater use of private investment to help build road improvements.

It also wants to see more use of US-style yellow school buses to cut school-run congestion.

We need a radical overhaul of how we travel and manage our road system if we are to do more than simply tinker at the edges
CBI deputy director-general John Cridland

It further says that road pricing should be considered, with tolls on new motorway lanes and A-roads.

"For too long, Britain's roads have been a cause of frustration and delays for our businesses and commuters," said CBI deputy director-general John Cridland.

"Now is the time for fresh thinking on the roads.

"We need a radical overhaul of how we travel and manage our road system if we are to do more than simply tinker at the edges. Merely slowing the endless rise in congestion is not enough."

The CBI said that a survey of firms showed that 96% want the next government take a new approach to road transport, and have a determination to tackle rush-hour congestion as a matter of priority.

Mr Cridland added that the CBI "would like to see policymakers put the same amount of energy and vision into roads as they are doing on high-speed rail."

His comments come days after the government outlined plans for a new high-speed rail link between London and Birmingham, with work starting from 2017 at the earliest.

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