Gridlock on UK roads costs the economy £4.3 billion

// Congestion costs Britain’s economy more than £4.3 billion or approximately £491 per car commuting household, according to a new report by INRIX and the Centre for Economics and Business Research. The costs are based on wasted time and fuel, as well as indirect costs to UK households resulting from businesses passing the costs on to consumers in the form of higher prices. Direct costs (fuel and time): Fuel: More than £426 million is wasted on fuel alone – that’s £52 worth of fuel cost per-car commuter for 8.2 million British commuting drivers Time: The average cost of time wasted in gridlock per commuter equates to £331 – that’s a total national time cost of £2.7 billion Indirect costs (rising cost of goods and services): Household Goods: 19% of traffic during the daily commute is business or freight vehicles and as a result over…

Dutch Firm Design ‘Smart,’ Glow-in-the-Dark Highway

The first prototype of the Netherlands’ “Smart Highway” – featuring a glow-in-the-dark roadway using temperature-sensitive paint – was open for public viewing during Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven, Netherlands. The design will first be implemented on a section of highway in the Netherlands’ Brabant province in mid-2013. The Smart Highway concept, created by design firm Studio Roosegaarde and infrastructure management firm Heijmans, captured the Dutch Design Award for best future concept. The goal of the Smart Highway project is to make roads more safe, interactive and sustainable by using interactive lights, smart energy and road signs that adapt to specific traffic situations. Over the next five years, this will be accomplished employing such innovations as glow-in-the-dark roads, dynamic paint, interactive lights that switch on as vehicles approach, induction priority lanes for electric vehicles, and wind-powered lights, according to Studio Roosegaarde. The Dutch design firm…

Ashwoods hybrid LCV available for contract hire

A new website to help public sector fleets realise the benefits of a Government hybrid vehicle programme is now live. The Department for Transport (DfT) is offering grant funding towards a new Ashwoods Hybrid Transit light commercial vehicle (LCV) through its Low Carbon Vehicle Procurement Programme (LCVPP). The programme was established to help public sector organisations such as central and local government bodies to become early adopters of low carbon vehicles. It has now been extended to cover housing associations, universities and further education establishments. The Ashwoods Hybrid Transit, produced by Ashwoods Automotive Ltd and based on the popular RWD Ford Transit, is the only DfT-approved vehicle in the programme. It is available as a chassis cab, minibus or panel van. Under the LCVPP scheme, DfT provides a subsidy of more than £3,400 per vehicle. DfT is only providing subsidies for the first 500…

80mph motorway speed limit not ruled out by DfT

The Government says it is still considering the merits of increasing the motorway speed limit from 70mph to 80mph, despite reports that a U-turn could be in the offing. The idea was first mooted less than a year ago, when the former transport secretary Philip Hammond claimed the increase would be good for business. However, Patrick McLoughlin, who assumed the top job at the Department for Transport (DfT) following the recent cabinet reshuffle, appears less than convinced. He said what was important was that “we never lose sight about the issue of safety on our roads” and that safety was “paramount” to his thinking. Meanwhile a DfT spokesman said it was currently working on an impact assessment of an 80mph speed limit on sections of the motorway network with variable speed limits and considering the criteria for where and under what conditions the 80mph…