Bedford bucks the trend as there were fewer delays on our 'A' roads last year

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
But Ampthill Road suffered the greatest delays

Drivers experienced fewer delays on Bedford’s 'A' roads last year, new figures show.

However, across England motorists encountered more congestion than ever on the strategic road network, which includes local and major 'A' roads and motorways, with the RAC blaming the problem on too many roadworks.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Department for Transport figures show drivers travelling on 'A' roads in Bedford were delayed by 39 seconds per mile on average when compared to the pace they would have made if driving at the speed limit in free-flowing conditions.

Ampthill Road had the greatest delays in Bedford last yearAmpthill Road had the greatest delays in Bedford last year
Ampthill Road had the greatest delays in Bedford last year

This was down from 43 seconds per mile the year before.

In 2019, before the coronavirus pandemic which saw traffic levels plummet, the average delay for motorists in the area was 47 seconds per mile.

The A5141 – Ampthill Road – had the greatest delays in Bedford at one minute and 35 seconds per mile.

Nationally, drivers were held up by 48 seconds per mile on local 'A' roads – the highest figure since 2019.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The figures cover only 'A' roads, which account for around 10% of England's highway network but carry around a third of all traffic.

Meanwhile, factoring in motorways and major 'A' roads, drivers across the country were delayed by a record 11 seconds per mile.

Speeds were measured using samples of vehicles recorded at different times of the day.

RAC head of policy Simon Williams said: "It’s very concerning to see delays on our most important roads increasing to above pre-pandemic levels and average speeds are dropping.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"With more people than ever working from home at least part of the week and no growth in the number of cars on the road since then, we’re struggling to see what the cause can be other than roadworks."

He added: "Given today’s disappointing findings, it’s more important than ever that National Highways, which is responsible for the strategic road network, is given sufficient funds in the next five-year road investment settlement to tackle these issues head-on."

The data also shows the average speed drivers travelled along local 'A' roads, with the national average falling to 23 miles per hour last year, the lowest figure since before the pandemic.

In Bedford, motorists averaged 25.1mph – up from 23 in 2019.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

A Department for Transport spokesperson said: "This Government backs drivers, which is why we’re getting on with our plan to invest over £24 billion into our roads to reduce congestion, improve road safety and grow the economy.

"As well as investing more into new and improved roads, we have a plan for drivers to slam the brakes on anti-driver measures and help keep our country moving."

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.