Extra runway to bring 10% rise in M25 traffic
Pressing ahead with a third runway at Heathrow would inevitably bring extra traffic locally on the M25 but driver migration to electric vehicles could mitigate the environmental impact, according to Inrix.
The third runway is expected to lead to an extra 740,000 extra flights a year, an increase of 55% on current levels, meaning that the airport could handle as many as 100 million passengers by 2030, and possibly over 130 million by 2050.
According to the traffic analytics firm, while today’s average daily flow figures for the M25 around Heathrow peak at around 225,000 vehicles, figures from The Airports Commission suggests this could approach 250,000 following expansion of the airport – 10% above current levels.
In response, Inrix said the significant increase in annual road users for the local area will require action. Although plans to widen local motorways will help increase capacity, it said innovation would be required to manage the short-to-medium term period of transition, as well as traffic growth in the long run.
Inrix also addressed concerns over the impact on the environment from the increased traffic, saying: “While car traffic is predicted to rise, interestingly it’s unlikely to impact the local environment. At the current rate of adoption, it’s assumed that around 11% of the national fleet will be electric by 2025. This means that direct pollution by petrol and diesel cars could be around 5% less across the same time frame.”