1. Traffic statistics
  2. Summary statistics

Summary statistics

Road traffic trends during 2020 have been affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in the UK. 280.5 billion miles were driven on Great Britain’s roads in 2020, a 21.3% decrease on the previous year.

Road traffic by vehicle type

Time period: 1993 to 2020
Source: Road traffic estimates in Great Britain: 2020

209.6 bvm

Cars and taxis

50.5 bvm

Light commerical vehicles

16.4 bvm

Heavy goods vehicles

5.0 bvm

Pedal cycles

1.6 bvm

Buses and coaches

2.5 bvm

Motorcycles

The main facts and figures show that:

  • Car traffic decreased by 24.7% from 2019 levels. The figure of 209.6 billion vehicle miles (bvm) is the lowest annual estimate for over 25 years.
  • Van traffic decreased by 9.1% from 2019 to 50.5 bvm. The lowest level for 5 years.
  • Lorry traffic decreased by 5.7% compared to 2019. At 16.4 bvm, this was the lowest level since 2014.
  • Pedal cycle traffic (cyclists on public highways, and the paths adjacent to them) was 5.0 bvm, 45.7% above 2019 levels. This is the highest level of cycling on the public highway since the 1960s.

Whilst historically significant, the long term trends can be misleading in most cases due to the extraordinary circumstances observed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Vehicle miles travelled in Great Britain have had year-on-year growth in each year between 2010 and 2019. However, the sharp decrease in 2020 has resulted in traffic estimates that are lower than the 2010 levels. Therefore, to say traffic has fallen over the last decade would misconstrue, as the overall decrease is entirely due to the decline in traffic levels observed in the 2020 estimates.

Traffic estimates for the period since 2010 have been revised to take into account the minor road benchmarking exercise. Further details available on GOV.UK: Road traffic statistics: minor road benchmarking


Traffic by road type

Time period: 1993 to 2020
Source: Road traffic estimates in Great Britain: 2020

The main facts and figures show that:

  • Motorways carried 52.7 bvm of traffic, decreasing by 25.3% compared to 2019.
  • The Strategic Road Network carried 72.6 bvm of traffic; a decrease of 25.1% on 2019 levels. The Strategic Road Network carried 30% of all motorised traffic in England.
  • 'A' roads saw a 23.2% decrease in traffic from 2019.
  • Minor road traffic decreased by 17.2% since 2019.

Whilst historically significant, the long term trends can be misleading in most cases due to the extraordinary circumstances observed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Vehicle miles travelled in Great Britain have had year-on-year growth in each year between 2010 and 2019. However, the sharp decrease in 2020 has resulted in traffic estimates that are lower than the 2010 levels. Therefore, to say traffic has fallen over the last decade would misconstrue, as the overall decrease is entirely due to the decline in traffic levels observed in the 2020 estimates.

Traffic estimates for the period since 2010 have been revised to take into account the minor road benchmarking exercise. Further details available on GOV.UK: Road traffic statistics: minor road benchmarking


Annual traffic across Great Britain

Data downloads

Download street-level traffic figures for all regions, local authorities and count point locations.

Data downloads

  • Annual average daily flow
  • Annual average daily flow by direction
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