Birmingham Chamber of Commerce Reports on Road Congestion Affecting Business

Birmingham Chamber of Commerce, an agency in the UK promoting tourism in Birmingham, is reporting that congestion on the roads is a major factor of delays in project completion and escalating costs for businesses in the area.

A recent survey by the Chamber of Commerce suggests that 61% of respondents are upset as they felt road congestions are causing an increase in the costs of business, while 42% feel that road congestions are causing delays that are detrimental to their business reputations.

Geoff Inskip, the chief executive officer of Centro, the UK based organisation operating bus, rail and Midland Metro Tram transport in the West Midlands area, said, ‘We have a growing population and people are increasingly choosing to travel to do business and enjoy leisure time. We want to open up new rail routes and add services for passengers and freight on our existing lines. This is good news for businesses and communities right across our region.’

Inskip believes that road congestions is costing GBP2.3bn per year, even as the number of passengers opting to take rail transport is increasing.

Centro is keen to revive a freight services route on the Stourbridge-Walsall line, and the passenger services route from south Birmingham to Moor Street station, as part of the Camp Hill line.

Birmingham Chamber chief executive officer, Jerry Blackett, said, ‘It is clear from our survey that congestion is costing our businesses money and harming their reputations.

These are difficult times and we must do all we can to remove these obstacles and ensure business in Birmingham is as competitive as it can be.

We want to see more freight being carried on our railways to relieve the pressure on our road network. We are at the crossroads of the country and, while this presents advantages with our central location, it means we are seeing increasing levels of congestion.’

Traffic Congestion Eases Across Europe

A recent study has shown that European roads are becoming less congested as car usage drops due to the Euro zone debt crisis, high rates of unemployment, and rising fuel prices, which are all conspiring to force motorists to abandon using their vehicles.

INRIX, a company that offers traffic information and intelligent driver services, has recently released its INRIX Traffic Scorecard, which indicates a 17 percent reduction in traffic congestion worldwide for 2011. The UK has been named the fourth worst country for congestion, with Manchester and London ranking below Milan in Italy and Paris, France, as the worst cities in Europe for traffic.

However, the study also indicates that traffic congestion on UK roads has decreased by 11 percent in 2011, a sign that the UK economy is on the back foot, as traffic congestion is known to be an excellent indicator of economic growth.

Stuart Marks, the senior vice president of INRIX Europe, said, ‘So goes traffic, so goes the economy. Traffic congestion is an excellent economic indicator telling us whether people are going to work, businesses are shipping products and consumers are spending money. As the European Union decides how to best help countries like Spain and Italy, the report not only validates the extent of the debt crisis in these countries but indicates who might be next.’

The Top 10 Most Congested Cities in the UK are Greater Manchester; London Commuter Zone; Liverpool (Merseyside); Greater Belfast-Lisburn; Newcastle upon Tyne (Tyne & Wear); South Nottinghamshire; Greater Birmingham; Leeds-Bradford-Harrogate; South Yorkshire (Sheffield); and Edinburgh-Lothian.