Getting the numbers wrong – cost of congestion


The RAC Foundation put out a press release recently complaining about the time it takes to reopen motorways after accidents and the consquent cost to the economy. The press release stated

“It is estimated road closures caused by accidents account for a quarter of all congestion and cost the country more than £5 billion a year”

How they got to a £5bn was explained “The Transport Select Committee report The Major Road Network (March 2010) uses a figure of £22 billion as the annual cost of congestion as suggested by the Eddington Review. This figure was accepted by transport minister Chris Mole when he gave evidence to the committee:”

The only problem is that Eddington stated  

“Eliminating existing congestion on the road network would be worth some £7-8 billion of GDP per annum”

and

“If left unchecked, the rising cost of congestion will waste an extra £22 billion worth of time in England alone by 2025”

So the RAC were using a 2025 figure to guesstimate present congestion costs. Their only excuse is that the Transport Minister was completely bamboozled by the subject and didn’t know what he was talking about in front of the Transport Select Committee.

The moral of the story – always check the original data source and never believe any figures quoted by a politican

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2 thoughts on “Getting the numbers wrong – cost of congestion

  1. “Their only excuse is that the Transport Minister was completely bamboozled by the subject and didn’t know what he was talking about in front of the Transport Select Committee.”

    nothing new there then

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