There was an increase in the volume of traffic on British roads last year, according to the latest data released by the Department for Transport.

Its statistical release, Road Traffic Estimates Great Britain 2017, reports that 327.1 billion miles were driven on Great Britain’s roads in 2017, an increase of 1.3% on the previous year.

Car traffic grow by 1.1% from 2016 to 254.4 billion vehicle miles, the highest annual car traffic estimate.

The main types of vehicles all showed increases with light commercial vehicles showing the greatest gain, up 2.7%, while cars and taxis were up 1.3 and HGVs increased by 1.2%. However, bus and coach travel fell by 3.4% compared with the previous year.

RAC roads policy spokesman Nicholas Lyes commented: “The data reflects what motorists are telling us – that they are more dependent on their cars to get to work, visit family and friends and manage their daily lives than ever before and they are finding that public transport is failing to provide a reliable and effective alternative.

“The dramatic drop in the number of miles driven by buses is a major cause for concern. We know that for many people public transport options are sparse, or that it is simply not affordable nor practical, but as a country we should be doing all we can to increase the number of services and their frequency at the same time as lowering fares in order to get motorists to see them as genuine alternatives.

“Drivers tell us they are concerned about increasing congestion and journey times, yet over three quarters of people say they could not live without their car. Despite drivers reporting that they are spending more on fuel and insurance, there is a genuine desire to use alternative transport options where practical.

“In meantime, they are having to deal with increasingly busy roads and as such it’s vitally important that promised investment into the road network gives the extra capacity and increased journey reliability which were promised. Motorists contribute over £40bn a year to the Treasury in motoring related taxation and will be unforgiving if promised upgrades are not forthcoming.”