Economics Coursework- Traffic Congestion

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Vikash Singh 11C

Economics Coursework- Traffic Congestion

Traffic congestion is the build up of traffic preventing efficient movement.

In the UK, traffic congestion is a major issue as it causes a lot of problems for example is there is a lot of congestion in cities as well as main roads in towns. In theory the problem of congestion is that there are high marginal social costs associated with congestion not paid by the driver. Also did you know that traffic levels on Britain’s roads have risen by over 80% in the last 20 years. This is mainly due to the fact of increasing demands for a car. An example of traffic congestion is on Sunnybank Road in Mirfield. In the morning there is congestion going up towards Roberttown. There is a great volume of cars on the road and at a very slow speed and so there is a lot of traffic trying to come out of Mirfield.

Problems of Congestion

From a few people who I have asked in the survey which is located in the appendix. I have found out from taking comments that they have made and from my own knowledge that the traffic congestion on Sunnybank Road is a problem for drivers as well as people who live in that area. Comments of people in survey have been summarised in the explanations of the problems.

On Sunnybank road every weekday morning there is a lot of congestion as it leads to Leeds and Huddersfield. A problem of congestion is that the journey times of the driver’s increase that causes a lot of anger and frustration and in the worst case leads to road rage. With the increase in journey times people can be late for school or work because of this congestion.

Another problem would be that there is a lot of pollution created by the congestion. Air and noise pollution are created. There is too much carbon monoxide emissions that let out into the environment, which is damaging to the environment and people’s health. Also car horns are being blown and cars coming past the road cause noise pollution for the people who live around the main road, which is damaging to the environment and to the people. Also there is visual pollution caused by congestion as people see a lot of cars passing by which is visual pollution for people who live on the main road.

Parking problems are caused by commuting and congestion as there are more and more cars that want a parking space but there is a limited amount of parking space available.

Also there is an increased risk of accidents due to congestion as there are more cars on the road and people who pass by have a big risk of a car accident, as Sunnybank road is a very busy road in rush hour and in the evenings.

List of Solutions

  • Widen the roads
  • Introduce the road charge
  • Put a subsidy on public transport
  • Slow down speed of traffic
  • Introduce bus lanes
  • Rise in petrol Tax


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An externality is side effects that result from the actions of an individual, firm or government. If they give benefits they are positive. If they cause problems or cost money, they are negative.  

An example of an externality is congestion as it causes problems for other people beside themselves. It is a negative externality and with congestion the price has to be increased of our car journeys to internalise the externality. This means congestion has side effects of cost people money. This is also referred as a negative externality.

Solutions to Congestion

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Overall rating : 4 out of 5 stars - Good structure to the report, describing situation and then considering all options before explaining a final choice. - Some re-reading to make some explanations a little clearer would be beneficial. - Some reference made to specific locations or statistics, but more could be added for more detail.