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Government urged to listen to three quarters of drivers who want more rail freight

13 July 2018

Campaigners are calling on the Government to better fund rail freight after more than three quarters of drivers said there is too much freight on the roads.

The survey, from road safety charity Brake, found that 79 per cent of drivers questioned thought there was too much freight on the roads and wanted Government to fund more rail freight.

With the rate of fatal crashes involving HGVs almost six times higher than that of cars, road freight presents a road safety, as well an air quality and congestion problem.

Campaign for Better Transport, which pushes for more freight by rail, is urging the Government to take note of the survey. Philippa Edmunds, from Campaign for Better Transport, said: “The Government should listen to drivers and fund a generous budget for the Strategic Freight Network. The Department for Transport committed to a freight fund in the Rail Strategy, but as yet the Government has not allocated the budget.

“The biggest issue facing rail freight is a shortage of infrastructure and space on the network which creates suppressed demand. Government investment to unblock pinch-points and improve the capability of the Strategic Freight Network is crucial to satisfy customer demand for rail freight.”


For further information please contact the press office on 07984 773 468  or  communications@bettertransport.org.uk

Notes to Editors

1) More than three-quarters (79 per cent) of drivers questioned agreed with the statement ‘There is too much freight on our motorways and the government should look to invest in modal shift of freight from road to rail’.

  1. Strongly agree
  1. 43.73 %
  1. 401
  1. Agree
  1. 35.11 %
  1. 322
  1. Neither agree or disagree
  1. 17.67 %
  1. 162
  1. Disagree
  1. 2.94 %
  1. 27
  1. Strongly disagree
  1. 0.55 %
  1. 5


2) ​Smart roads: put safety first Our Strategic Road Network – Part 2 is being published by Brake which publishes regular survey reports on road safety throughout the year. This report is based on a survey of 1,000 car drivers, conducted by an external research agency, Surveygoo. Read the full report here.

3) The Department for Transport committed to a freight fund in its Rail Strategy announced on 29 November 2017.

4) The HGV rate of involvement in road crashes that lead to fatalities on all urban roads is 31 per billion vehicle miles. This is almost six times the rate of cars (5.9) and significantly higher than the rate for buses and coaches (26). Source: RAS20005

5) Research commissioned by Campaign for Better Transport, sponsored by the Department for Transport, demonstrated that upgrading the rail routes out of the two largest container ports, Southampton and Felixstowe, could remove 2000 large HGVs each day which equate to 8,000 average-sized cars from both the A14 and A34; A14 has 6,500 large HGVs on parts of the route and A34 has 4800 on parts of the route. Further research also showed that these enhancements would reduce air pollution by 10 per cent on each corridor too.

6) The strong benefit cost ratios for freight enhancements, typically in the range of 4:1 to 8:1, highlighted in the latest Network Rail Route Strategic Plan, should be factored into investment planning. Targeted rail freight upgrades work; the gauge upgrades out of Southampton Port increased rail’s market share from 29 to 36 per cent within a year and had a benefit-cost ratio of 5:1.

7) Campaign for Better Transport is the UK's leading authority on sustainable transport. We champion transport solutions that improve people's lives and reduce environmental damage. Our campaigns push innovative, practical policies at local and national levels. Campaign for Better Transport Charitable Trust is a registered charity (1101929).