SUMMER GETAWAY AND HARD TIMES SEE THE RETURN OF THE WEEKEND TRIPPER
This British summer sees cash-strapped families opting for old-fashioned weekend outings that are bringing traffic jams to popular holiday routes, says Trafficmaster
The start of the Summer Holiday period in England and Wales on Friday 22nd and Saturday 23rd July is expected to bring very heavy traffic to holiday routes; most schools will have ended their terms prior to Friday 22nd, so we may see “getaway” traffic mixing with commuter traffic on that afternoon.
The return traffic nowadays is much more dissipated over the weekends during early and mid-August. The weekend of 19th, 20th, and 21st August – one week before the Bank Holiday – is notorious for traffic delays as it includes the two V Festivals at Weston under Lizard and Chelmsford, which are probably the biggest events of their kind of the year and regularly bring major traffic delays. Once again, weather conditions will play an important part for other traffic.
Traffic will build up from Friday lunchtime on the major holiday routes as getaway traffic mixes with commuter traffic. However, although busier than normal, Trafficmaster believes the staggered departure and the on-going impact of high fuel prices will temper the worst of the jams. Families hard-pressed for holiday cash, are opting for regular weekend breaks and outings instead of jetting off abroad. Trafficmaster, the leading traffic information provider, has seen a weekend congestion pattern emerging since the beginning of May which looks set to continue. Coupled with research from the AA, which suggests that in total, around 14 million cars are expected on the roads with routes to the South-west likely to be the busiest and congestion is also expected on main routes to the coast, cross-channel ports and major airports..
Even with the slightly more unsettled weather recently, Trafficmaster still expects to see the traffic congestion levels compounded on the afternoon of Friday 22 July, as the majority of schools in England and Wales break that week for the holidays. Add sudden downpours into the equation, which make for difficult driving conditions and this will slow journey times even more.
“We have been monitoring a definite trend towards weekend getaway traffic and Sunday tripping since the beginning of May,” said Graham Smith, Data Manager at Trafficmaster. “This is very much reverting to the trend there used to be years ago for family trips out on a regular basis rather than a major summer break abroad. Interestingly, this congestion peak on Fridays and Sundays is in contrast to overall traffic congestion levels during the working week that we have seen decreasing for the last year as the recession deepened, reducing freight and commuter traffic on the roads.”
The most popular long weekend routes are proving to be those down to the West Country, the South Coast and East Anglia, although longer distance routes to and from the North are increasingly congested on Friday afternoons.
Higher levels of congestion are expected to cause an increase in breakdowns, particularly if temperatures climb.
Keith Miller, AA patrol of the year, says: “Allow extra time for your journey and, if you can, avoid travelling at peak times, which is particularly welcome if you have children on board. Carry plenty of drinking water, food and things to keep them entertained.”
To access Trafficmaster Live Traffic information from your phone, call 0906 470 1740 from your landline, or 1740 from your mobile before you travel or during your journey for Live Traffic Reports..
To help motorists beat the hotspots the number for the AA’s traffic and travel advice line, AA Roadwatch, provided by Trafficmaster, is 84322 or enter ‘the AA’ on your mobile phone keypad or call 0906 88 84322 from a landline*.
For traffic updates, Trafficmaster’s control centre is on 01234 759 100 (available 24/7) and Graham Smith, Trafficmaster’s Data Manager, is available on 01582-574903 for comment on the traffic situation.http://www.trafficmaster.co.uk/
According to Trafficmaster, these are likely to be the main summer getaway traffic hotspots:
Commuter routes Friday (22 July) afternoon:
A3 at Hindhead is still a major congestion point for tomorrow and Saturday. It should have been bypassed by now, but the new Tunnels are still not open although they were supposed to have been opened several weeks ago.
M25 both ways around Western and Northern Sectors – between Junctions 10 and 30 in both directions;
M11 northbound from Junction 6 (M25) to Stansted (Junction 8A);
M1 northbound from Junction 6A (M25) to Luton (Junction 10) and Milton Keynes (Junction 14);
M4 westbound from Junction 1 (Chiswick) to Reading (Junction 11/12) and Newbury (Junction 13);
M3 southbound from Junction 2 (M25) to Junction 5 (Basingstoke);
A34 southbound from M40 Junction 9, through Oxford to Abingdon and Newbury;
M32/M4/M5 outward from Bristol to Almondsbury (M4/J20) and Avonmouth (M5/J18);
M4 both ways between Severn Crossing (J23A), Newport and Cardiff;
A14 both ways between Cambridge and Huntingdon;
M6 both ways through West Midlands (between Junction 4A and Junction 11A);
M6 northbound from Junction 11A (M6 Toll) to Junction 20 (M56);
M1 northbound from East Midlands (Junction 23) towards Yorkshire (M18 at Junction 31);
M60 both ways between Junction 12 (Eccles) and Junction 18 (M66/M62);
M60 both ways around southern section between Junction 12 (Eccles) and Junction 1 (Stockport);
M62 westbound from Manchester/Eccles (Junction 12) towards M6 (Junction 10);
M62 westbound from Junction 27 (M621) to Junction 25 (Huddersfield).
In addition, the following holiday routes are likely to become congested from mid-afternoon onwards on Friday (22 July) and also on Saturday (23 July):
A21 southbound towards East Sussex coast;
M3/M27/A31 southbound then westbound from M3/Junction 9 (Winchester) to M27 at Southampton then westwards to the Dorset coast;
A303 westbound from M3 Junction 8 near Basingstoke through Hampshire, Wiltshire and Dorset – especially on sections of road not upgraded to dual-carriageway (starts from Friday mid-morning onwards);
A34 southwards from Newbury towards M3/Junction 9 at Winchester;
M5 south-westwards from Junction 4A (M42 in West Midlands) to Almondsbury interchange (Junction 15), then onwards to Exeter (Junction 31);
A30 westbound from M5/Junction 31 through Devon and Cornwall;
A38 westbound from M5 Junction 31 to Plymouth and Bodmin;
A11 both ways around Elveden Cross Roads, Norfolk (starts from mid-morning onwards);
A47 eastbound from Peterborough towards Kings Lynn, Norwich and Norfolk coast;
A64 eastbound from York Ring Road towards Yorkshire coastal resorts;
A1/A1M northbound from Cambridgeshire/Nottinghamshire into Yorkshire;
M6 northbound from mid Lancashire (J27-29) into Lake District (J37);
A2 and M20/A20 towards Dover and Folkestone will be busy, but traffic congestion is more likely in event of disruption of ferry or Channel Tunnel rail links.
Trafficmaster is an expert in intelligent driving. The Group comprises US-based Teletrac Inc., Fleet Management Solutions® (FMS) and Trafficmaster Ltd in the UK. Each organisation focuses on intelligent vehicle services, which enhance the driving experience and improve business performance by saving companies and drivers time and money, reducing their environmental impact as well as providing vehicle and driver security.
Teletrac Inc. offers fleet tracking, management and navigation solutions under the Fleet Director brand across the US, serving 6,000 fleets and a total of 90,000 commercial vehicles, using wireless and GPS technology.
FMS manufactures, installs and supports all-satellite GPS vehicle tracking systems for remote and rugged environments. By combining two-way Iridium satellite messaging, intelligent modems and GPS technology, FMS provides real-time location data, status and alerts for fleets operating anywhere in the world.
The group has developed a suite of Trafficmaster services in the UK. Trafficmaster's key product is the award-winning Smartnav, an intelligent satellite navigation system, which uses live traffic information and real-time road speeds to calculate optimum routes and avoid traffic congestion. Trafficmaster's comprehensive traffic data means Smartnav is continually updated with traffic information, road closures and speed camera locations.
Trafficmaster offers the Thatcham approved Trackstar stolen vehicle tracking, which is monitored 24 hours a day in the Trafficmaster Control Centre. Stolen vehicles automatically alert the Trafficmaster emergency desk operators who then monitor them remotely and inform the police of their whereabouts for fast and efficient recovery.
Trafficmaster maintains a unique network of 5,200 traffic monitoring sensors, generating high quality real-time traffic information on the UK motorway and trunk roads. Live traffic information is provided to customers via RDSTMC, premium rate telephone services, the internet and various data feeds.
Trafficmaster provides, Fleet Director, their fleet management solution in the UK, which combines all of Trafficmaster’s intelligent technology to help businesses become more efficient and productive, whilst reducing the environmental impact of driving.
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For further information visit www.trafficmaster.co.uk