Congestion will cost the economy hundreds of billions a year by 2030, council chiefs predict as they call for more long term funding certainty for local roads.
A new report from the Local Government Association (LGA) forecasts congestion will cost the economy £300bn a year by 2030 - a tenfold increase of the current costs of £30.8bn a year.
It will also significantly contribute to excess harmful vehicle emissions, which lead to 40,000 premature deaths annually.
A Country in a Jam found travel speeds across the country’s local roads continue to decrease, with the average speed on ‘A’ roads now just 25.2 mph - 1% slower than it was this time last year.
The average motorist is being forced to waste £968 and spend 4.9 days stuck in traffic on major roads each year because of congestion, the report said.
The LGA said councils need the same sort of long term funding certainty for local roads maintenance that is enjoyed by Highways England and Network Rail.
This would help councils tackle the £12bn roads repair backlog and congestion they face on local roads.
The Government should also encourage more bus travel by fully funding the concessionary fares scheme and giving councils control over the Bus Service Operators’ Grant, a fuel duty rebate currently paid directly to bus operators, the LGA said.
Council chiefs also want more powers for councils outside of London to enforce moving traffic offences.
‘Congestion can have a significant impact on our towns, cities and communities, and act as a drag on local growth. Worse still, it can lead to toxic air and reduced quality of life,’ said Cllr Judith Blake, LGA Transport spokesperson.
‘When the average motorist is spending a working week every year sat in traffic on major roads, and losing almost a £1,000 in the process, it’s clear that councils need to be able to do more to tackle this growing problem.
‘Councils are working hard to combat traffic and congestion. But they need long-term consistent funding to invest in local roads and need greater powers to solve the problem and introduce attractive alternatives to car journeys, such as through public transport, walking and cycling.
‘This will help those that need to use the roads as well as those that have to live with the consequences of congestion.’