Van Traffic Growth Shows Courier Demand

Martin Smith

Martin Smith

Pegasus Couriers Managing Director

UK van traffic has reached a ten-year high indicating growth across several sectors.

UK van traffic reached a 10-year high, signalling an improving economy and growth in several sectors, such as online shopping.
In this article, Martin Smith, Director of Pegasus Couriers, provides insight into the latest van mileage figures and what this trend means for growth.

Post Pandemic Record High

The latest government figures reveal an astonishing increase in van traffic mileage nationwide. 

The 2022 figures, released this month, show that van traffic across Great Britain reached an astounding 57.5 billion vehicle miles, marking a 5.8% rise compared to 2021 and a remarkable 7.6% increase from 2019.

In fact, van miles travelled in Great Britain reached a 10-year high peak in 2022.

The growth trend in van mileage has been consistent since 2012, with van miles continuously rising each year, except for a brief decline in 2020 due to the pandemic. This data clearly shows the increasing reliance on vans for the movement of goods and services throughout the UK. 

These figures highlight the essential role that vans play in the transport and logistics industry, supporting various sectors such as deliveries, healthcare, and agriculture. This comes despite several years of production shortage issues due to a lack of components.

Gridlock and Courier Market Impact

The rise in van traffic has several implications. Firstly, it has had a significant impact on congestion on the roads. With the increasing number of vans on the road, traffic congestion has worsened, especially during peak hours. This can lead to longer travel times, frustration for delivery drivers, and economic costs due to delays in the transportation of goods.

With the strain on the road systems – from all vehicles – there is a clear need for pothole repair to be prioritised by the government. This is clear from the spike in tyre damage and even accidents caused by potholes

The higher the number of courier vans on the road, the greater the emissions. This forms part of the government’s broader climate change strategy. Large corporates and the government are already testing delivery driverless vehicles, electric delivery vans and drone parcel delivery.

UK van traffic has reached a ten-year high indicating growth across several sectors. Pegasus Couriers

Soaring Traffic And Courier Driver Growth

This upward trend in van traffic indicates a steady increase in the use of light commercial vehicles across the country.

The rise suggests a growing demand for courier delivery services and the expansion of e-commerce. This trend is likely to continue, particularly with the increasing popularity of online shopping. The surge ensures job security, as courier drivers are the key to excellent customer service and fast deliveries.

Figures show that urban areas experience higher levels of van traffic due to higher population density and greater demand for goods and services. 

Couriers Help the Local Economy

The higher proportion of van traffic on ‘A’ roads and minor roads suggests that vans are crucial in supporting local economies and providing essential community services. It also indicates the importance of efficient road networks and infrastructure to accommodate the increasing demand for courier van transportation.

Quick Facts on Courier Market

  • Van traffic in the UK increased by 5.8% in 2022 compared to 2021, reaching 57.5 billion vehicle miles.
  • Van traffic in 2022 was 7.6% higher than in 2019, indicating a significant growth in van usage over the years.
  • Van traffic on motorways accounted for 22% of the total van miles, while ‘A’ roads accounted for 42%, and minor roads accounted for 36% in 2022.
  • Monthly trend in van traffic showed that van usage in 2022 was consistently higher than pre-pandemic levels for the equivalent months in 2019, ranging from 2% to 11% higher.

Where Are You More Likely To Spot A Courier Van?

  • Motorways – While commonly used, many route calculation navigation devices (SatNav) prompt delivery drivers to use the quickest route. 12.8 billion vehicle miles were recorded on the UK’s motorways, representing 22% of the total. This could be due to motorways providing faster and more efficient van routes, particularly long-distance deliveries.
  • ‘A’ roads – These types of roads see a higher volume of van traffic, with 24.1 billion vehicle miles recorded, accounting for 42% of the total. This suggests that vans are commonly used for local and regional deliveries, where ‘A’ roads are often the main transportation routes.
  • Minor roads – 20.6 billion vehicle miles travelled by vans, making up 36% of the total. This indicates that vans are also frequently used for smaller, local journeys, for more local courier deliveries from online shopping.

Less Courier Deliveries Over Weekends

On weekdays, vans experience two peaks in traffic, one in the morning at about 9 am and another in the afternoon shortly before 6 pm – both similar in volume. This contrasts with cars, where the afternoon peak tends to be higher than the morning. 

Additionally, the proportion of courier vans on the road during weekends is lower than on weekdays, even during peak periods. Some delivery companies work on a skeleton staff or do not operate on weekends, which could be attributed to this.

The Future of The UK Courier Industry

Courier drivers are the unsung heroes of our daily lives, quietly traversing our roadways and ensuring that goods and services reach their intended destinations efficiently. They are the backbone of our economy, facilitating the smooth operation of various industries, including deliveries, healthcare, and agriculture. Future projections for courier van traffic growth suggest that the upward trend will continue.
The rise of e-commerce shows no signs of slowing down, and as consumer behaviour continues to evolve, there will be a sustained demand for van deliveries.
Policymakers and stakeholders in the transportation industry must anticipate this growth and plan accordingly to ensure efficient and sustainable van traffic management.

Common Questions and Answers: Courier Van

Factors contributing to the increase in van traffic in the UK include the growth of online shopping, which has led to a higher demand for delivery services.

Industries such as retail, construction, and delivery services contribute the most to van mileage in the UK. The latest data shows van traffic increased by 5.8% nationwide in 2022.
These sectors rely heavily on vans to transport goods and services, driven by economic impact and job opportunities. Delays in deliveries result in several issues, including increased costs and employee issues.

 To manage this, potential solutions include optimising delivery routes and using technology for real-time traffic updates. The impact on customer satisfaction can be affected by delayed deliveries. The cost implications for delivery services include increased fuel and maintenance expenses due to higher mileage and potential penalties for missed delivery windows.


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