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Cash better spent on roads than rail says report

Traffic congestion roads 3x2

If the cash that will go into High Speed 2 (HS2) was put into roads, it would be possible to widen every motorway in England, claims a new report.

Road investment is better value for money than rail, returning average benefits of £4.50 in per pound spent, compared to £2.83 for rail, claims the report commissioned by Fair Fuel, a group campaigning for lower fuel duty.

The economic effect of road investment report claims that rail gets almost nine times more money than road with £186,000 spent on rail infrastructure for every million miles of passenger travel, compared to £21,000 spent on roads per million miles travelled.

“Although other forms of transport have grown in prominence, roads remain the foundation of transport in UK,” says the report. ”Yet, on recent evidence, investment into the UK’s roads is taking a backseat. Eye-catching rail projects have caught the imagination over the past decade, but they have also consumed the bulk of the budget. The disparity between rail and road investment is now wider than ever – in 2016, the amount spent on railways per mile travelled was nearly nine times that spent on roads,” it says.

The report concludes that modern transport policies can help push the uptake of low-emission vehicles, but more investment is needed to produce a roads system that can ease congestion, boost the economy and become more environmentally friendly.

It says: “The government has made its bold ambitions clear, to place Britain at the forefront of low-emissions transport; now it must commit the investment to match.”

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Readers' comments (1)

  • What a load of rubbish. Does this report account for the amount of disruption caused by all of these highway project across the country (speed restrictions, lane closures etc)? HS2 does not only help provide a faster service, but also reduces congestion on other rail service along the route.

    I do not have high hopes for any significant improvements on moving away from petrol motors in next 10-20 years; and judging how most cars on the M25 each morning are only occupied by one person, the environmental impacts in comparison to hundreds-thousand people using one train service from Birmingham to London is much worse for the old automobile. We should not be encouraging people to use cars if we are better connected via rail.

    - Non biased Rail Enginer

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