NEWPORT has one of the highest traffic volumes in Wales, a new report has found.

The figures, published by the Welsh Government, show that, in 2016, motor traffic in Wales was the highest since comparable records began – with Newport having one of the highest traffic volumes in the country.

In the report, it says: “In 2016, the total volume of motorised traffic in Wales was 29.0 billion vehicle kilometres, which is equivalent to 9,322 vehicles kilometres (5,826 miles) per head of the population over the year.

“Motor traffic in Wales peaked in 2016 at 29.0 billion vehicle kilometres, which is 3.7 per cent higher than the previous peak in 2007 and represents a 2.2 per cent increase on 2015.”

The report states that, last year, within this total volume of traffic, cars accounted for 79 per cent of the total and that vehicles travelled mostly on the major roads, with 64.7 per cent of motor traffic in Wales either on motorways or A roads.

“Historically, Cardiff, Newport, Carmarthenshire and Rhondda Cynon Taf have had the highest traffic volume in Wales and in 2016 this continued to be true,” it adds. “Merthyr Tydfil and Blaenau Gwent have the lowest volumes of motor vehicle traffic, continuing the historical trend.

“In 2016, nearly all local authorities showed the highest levels of motor traffic since 2006.”

Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said the key drivers of traffic volume are population growth, the strength of the economy and the affordability of motoring.

He said: “With more people than ever in Wales, strong employment statistics and relatively cheap cars – to buy if not to run – then the figures are not a surprise. Around 70 per cent of Welsh workers rely on a car to get to the office.

“The question is how this headline figure for traffic volume  translates into levels of congestion, environmental impacts and road casualty numbers."

Steve Brooks, national director at Sustrans Cymru said: “It’s a real concern that road traffic is at an all-time high in Wales. Not only does an increase in traffic volume contribute to even more congestion issues, it also pollutes the air that we breathe, makes the roads less safe for all users, and makes Wales a less desirable place to be, live, work and study."

Mr Brooks said we are all aware that congestion is a "real problem" in Wales’ major cities.

"One issue is that many people are driving distances that could easily be walked, cycled or covered by public transport," he added. "We need to get people thinking differently about these shorter journeys, and seeing them as an opportunity to get some exercise on the way to and from work and school.

"In order to achieve this shift, we need to make cycling and walking both accessible and safe for people.  Cities need to invest in safe, attractive and convenient routes for people to use that integrate with reliable public transport services.”