Roadbuilding plans fundamentally flawed, research finds

New roads increased traffic and greenhouse gases, damaged wildlife and designated environmental sites and did not produce the economic benefits proponents used to justify their construction, analysis of data from England’s highways authority has found.

The research, by consultants Transport for Quality of Life Community Interest Company (TfLQ) for the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), examined official data from Highways England for 86 completed road schemes. 

The effects of schemes were measured using Highways England’s Post Opening Project Evaluation (POPE) data one to five years after they opened. Roads completed between 13 and 20 years ago were also scrutinised to assess long-term impacts. These were: the A34 Newbury bypass; M65 Blackburn Southern bypass; and dual-carriage ways on the A46 between Newark and Lincoln and A120 between Stansted and Braintree dualling.

The analysis found that traffic increased more on new roads than background traffic in the surrounding area. Roads completed eight to 20 years ago experienced a 47% increase in traffic, and more than doubled on the M65 Blackburn Southern bypass. 

All new schemes put pressure on adjoining roads, and ...

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