‘Rat Runs’ On The Increase Says Department for Transport

Sat 26th Sep 2020

Traffic on residential roads is on the increase with satellite navigation apps and a boom in online deliveries blamed for the rise.
While traffic on minor roads and C roads increased by just 3.2 per cent over the last 12 months of recorded data, the figures for the last ten years on a regional level show an alarming rise.

London appears to be a hotbed of ‘rat run’ activity, with traffic on residential streets almost doubling over the decade, from 5.5bn vehicle miles to nearly 9.5bn in 2019.

There’s a similar picture across other areas of the country, with the North West seeing traffic go up from 9bn miles in 2009 to just under 13bn miles.

“The massive increase in traffic on C roads is probably due to a combination of home shopping and van-based home service,” the AA President Edmund King told The Guardian.

Meanwhile travel charity Living Streets, which encourages healthy and greener alternatives to traditional transport blames the navigation apps, saying: “Traffic jams are popping up on once-quiet residential roads as navigation apps like Waze direct traffic down roads that were never designed to take them.”

A Waze spokesperson said: “Roads and streets weren’t built for the volume of cars that exist today. On average, the number of vehicles on UK roads has increased by 594,000 per year since 2012 and road networks have struggled to keep up with this increase. Waze routes its users through the public roads infrastructure, based on local driving laws and the road signs in the area.”