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Useful Facts and Figures - Economic Arguments for Rail Freight

  • Road congestion is claimed to cost businesses £17 billion per annum.
    FTA 2015

  • The largest freight trains in the UK can remove up to 160 HGV journeys from our roads
    - Value of Freight July 2013 Network Rail
  • One train can carry enough materials to build 30 houses
    Mineral Products Association November 2016
  • DfT estimate the cost of congestion being £0.99 per lorry miles on the most congested roads.
  • Government figures show that nationally almost 30 per cent of lorries are driving around
    completely empty and overall HGVs are around 50% loaded – Source DfT empty running figures & Centre for Sustainable Road Freight (CSRF) report December 2014
  • Latest Government figures show that HGVs are paying less than a third of the costs they impose on society.
  • Heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) cost the UK economy £6.5bn each year in increased road crashes, dirty air, pot holes and other impacts. HGVs are five times more likely than cars to be involved in fatal accidents on local roads and pay almost nothing for their contributions to air pollution.
  • These conclusions are in line with two other separate reports.  MDS Transmodal study in 2007 found a very similar amount of underpayment: £6billion. Transport & Environment research 2  issued in April 2016 found that HGVs were only paying 30% of their external costs.
  • Lorries do cause far more damage to foundations and structures of roads than cars because the damaging power rises exponentially as weight increases. This is called the Generalized Fourth Power Law. The standard six-axle44 tonne 16.5 metre truck is 138,000 times more damaging to road surfaces than a Ford Focus. Therefore some of the heaviest road repair costs are therefore almost exclusively attributable to the heaviest vehicles.

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