M6 Toll One Year After - Exec Summ
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Page 1
Post Opening Project
Evaluation
M6 Toll After Study:
Traffic and Safety Summary
JOB NUMBER: 4416515
DOCUMENT REF: M6 Toll Traffic and Safety
Summary.doc
1
Draft
PW
PW
PR
PR
25/07/05
2
Revised
PW
PW
PR
PR
28/07/05
3
July data added
PW
PW
PR
PR
11/08/05
Originated Checked
Reviewed Authorised
Date
Revision
Purpose
Description

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Contents
Section
Page
1.
Introduction
1
2.
Traffic Flows
2
Month-on-Month Variations before and after M6 Toll opening
2
Traffic Volumes on the M6 Toll, M6 and Other Key Motorways and A roads
5
Volume Of HGVs
7
Classified Results for M6 Toll Tie-ins
7
3.
Journey Times and Speeds
8
Journey Times from Journey time Database
8
Speeds on the M6 J9 – J10 as measured by MIDAS
9
4.
Route Choice
11
5.
Safety
13
Personal Injury Accidents
13
Fatal and Serious accidents
14
6.
Summary
15
List of Tables
Table 1.1 – Summary of M6 Toll Pricing
2
Table 2.1 – Average Weekday Traffic Before and After the opening of the M6 Toll
6
Table 5.1 – Summary of Accidents on the Motorway Network, Before and After opening of
the M6 Toll
13
Table 5.2 – Number of Accidents including a Fatality or Serious Injury
14
List of Figures
Figure 1.1 – Location of M6 Toll Motorway
1
Figure 2.1 – M6 Toll: Number of Users of the Whole Road on Workdays
4
Figure 2.2 – M6 J9 – J10: Number of Vehicles on Weekdays
4
Figure 2.3 – M6 J4A – J5: Number of Vehicles on Weekdays
4
Figure 2.4 – Average Weekday Traffic in March 2003 and 2005
7
Figure 3.1 – Midweek Journey Times from M6 J4 – J11A on M6 or M6 Toll
8
Figure 3.2 – Northbound Midweek Traffic Speeds on M6 J9 – J10 in 2003, 2004 and 2005 10
Figure 3.3 – Southbound Midweek Traffic Speeds on M6 J9 – J10 in 2003, 2004 and 2005 10
Figure 4.1 – Route Choice for Through Journeys between M6 J3 and J12
12
Figure 4.2 – Route Choice for Through Journeys between the M40 J16 and M6 J12
12

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1. Introduction
1.1
This is the Traffic and Safety Summary report identifying the impacts following the
opening of the M6 Toll motorway. It provides the key findings of the study,
particularly those of greatest interest to the stakeholders and public. The report
considers traffic volume changes on key routes in the area, as well as changes in
journey times, congestion and accidents.
Background
1.2
The M6 Toll Motorway is the first toll motorway in the UK and opened in stages over
the period 9th to the 14th December 2003. The scheme is a privately-financed three
lane motorway, and provides an alternative route for traffic currently using the busiest
stretch (J4 to J11) of the M6 Motorway through the West Midlands metropolitan area.
A further aim of the 43 kilometre (27 miles) long M6 Toll is to provide a distributor to
the north and east of the West Midlands region, improving communications to
Cannock, Lichfield and Tamworth (see Figure 1.1).
1.3
Midland Expressway Limited (MEL) is the company which built and now operates the
road. The toll rates by vehicle classification are summarised in Table 1.1.
Figure 1.1 – Location of M6 Toll Motorway
© Crown copyright. All rights reserved Highways Agency 100018928, 2005.

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Table 1.1 – Summary of M6 Toll Pricing
Toll per Daytime trip
(06:00 - 23:00)
Introductory
Charge from
December 2003
Standard
charge from
August 2004
Standard
charge from
June 2005
Cars, small vans
£2
£3
£3.50
Lorries, coaches, large vans
1
£10
£6
£7
2. Traffic Flows
M
ONTH
-
ON
-M
ONTH
V
ARIATIONS BEFORE AND AFTER
M6 T
OLL OPENING
M6 Toll – Number of User Trips
2.1
Figure 2.1 shows the average daily number of trips made by users on workdays
2
on
the M6 Toll for every month since the first full operational month. Note that these
figures show all vehicle trips rather than traffic flows at a single count location. The
key trends shown in the first 19 months are:
On opening, the first full month, January 2004, showed a daily number of
workday users’ trips of 33,000. In the first three months, this increased by 28%.
One year on, in March 2005, the number of trips was 18% higher than March
2004;
Traffic growth on the M6 Toll has been substantially higher than the national
average for motorways over this period
3
; and
During summer 2004, usage was higher than the winter period. This is assumed
to be as a result of a combination of major roadworks taking place on the parallel
section of the M6 and seasonal factors affecting the number of longer distance
travellers. June and July 2005 showed lower usage rates than in the first year,
indicating that 2004 summer usage was increased by the M6 roadworks.
Bypassed sections of M6 – Traffic Volumes
2.2
Figure 2.2 shows the Average Weekday
4
Traffic flows (AWT) for the busiest section
of the M6, J9 – J10, which is parallel to the M6 Toll. The key trends shown are:
In 2003, before M6 Toll opening, weekday flows exceeded 160,000 vehicles per
day (vpd) for half of the year. Since the opening of the M6 Toll, flows have been
consistently lower (around 5%) throughout the year;
Roadworks on the M6 (J5 – J6 and J7 – J8) during the latter part of 2004, had an
impact on traffic flows on this section of the M6; and
In the first three months of 2005, traffic flows increased slightly on the same
period in 2004, but remain below that observed in 2003.
1
Vehicles whose height at the first axle is 1.3m or more.
2
Monday – Fridays, excluding bank holidays.
3
National statistics given in the Traffic in Great Britain Q1 2005 show that in the year between Q1 2004 and Q1 2005, there
was a 2% increase in motorway traffic.
4
Monday – Fridays, excluding Easter bank holidays.

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2.3
The impact of the M6 Toll has also been monitored on the traffic flows on the M6 J4A
– J5, also on the bypassed section, as shown in Figure 2.3. This graph shows:
There is a clear drop in M6 traffic volumes in the early months of 2004 following
the opening of the M6 Toll compared to the same period in 2003, prior to
opening; and
The M6 roadworks (July 2004 – December 2004) caused a further drop in traffic
volumes with some traffic re-routing away from this part of the M6; however, as
the roadworks tapered-off, some traffic reverted back onto the M6 resulting in a
steady traffic volume growth. This growth in traffic volumes has however not yet
reached traffic levels equal to that prior to the opening of the M6 Toll.

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Fe
b
-
0
4
M
a
r-0
4
A
p
r-0
4
Ma
y
-
0
4
Ju
n
-
0
4
Ju
l-
0
4
Au
g
-
0
4
Se
p
-
0
4
Oc
t
-
0
4
No
v
-
0
4
De
c
-
0
4
Ja
n
-
0
5
Fe
b
-
0
5
M
a
r-0
5
A
p
r-0
5
Ma
y
-
0
5
Ju
n
-
0
5
Ju
l-
0
5
Ja
n
-
0
4
0
10,000
20,000
30,000
40,000
50,000
60,000
70,000
Figure 2.1 – M6 Toll: Number of Users of the Whole Road on Workdays
De
c
-
0
2
J
a
n-
03
F
e
b-
03
A
p
r-0
3
Ma
y
-
0
3
J
u
n-
03
Ju
l-
0
3
A
u
g-
03
S
e
p-
03
Oc
t
-
0
3
No
v
-
0
3
J
a
n-
04
F
e
b-
04
Ma
r
-
0
4
A
p
r-0
4
Ma
y
-
0
4
J
u
n-
04
Ju
l-
0
4
A
u
g-
04
S
e
p-
04
Oc
t
-
0
4
No
v
-
0
4
De
c
-
0
4
J
a
n-
05
F
e
b-
05
Ma
r
-
0
5
No
v
-
0
2
Ma
r
-
0
3
M6
T
o
l
O
p
e
n
in
g
0
20,000
40,000
60,000
80,000
100,000
120,000
140,000
160,000
180,000
Figure 2.2 – M6 J9 – J10: Number of Vehicles on Weekdays
Roadworks
Dec
-
02
Ja
n
-
0
3
Fe
b
-
0
3
Ap
r
-
0
3
Ma
y
-
0
3
Ju
n
-
0
3
Ju
l
-
0
3
Au
g
-
0
3
Se
p
-
0
3
Oc
t
-
0
3
Nov
-
03
M
6
T
o
ll
O
p
e
n
i
n
g
Ja
n
-
0
4
Fe
b
-
0
4
Ma
r
-
0
4
Ap
r
-
0
4
Ma
y
-
0
4
Ju
n
-
0
4
Ju
l
-
0
4
Au
g
-
0
4
Se
p
-
0
4
Oc
t
-
0
4
Nov
-
04
Dec
-
04
Ja
n
-
0
5
Fe
b
-
0
5
Ma
r
-
0
5
Ap
r
-
0
5
Nov
-
02
Ma
r
-
0
3
0
20,000
40,000
60,000
80,000
100,000
120,000
140,000
160,000
180,000
Figure 2.3 – M6 J4A – J5: Number of Vehicles on Weekdays

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T
RAFFIC
V
OLUMES ON THE
M6 T
OLL
, M6
AND
O
THER
K
EY
M
OTORWAYS AND
A
ROADS
2.4
Table 2.1 shows the average weekday traffic volumes on Mondays – Fridays on
sections of the M6 Toll, M6 and other key routes during March 2003, March 2004
shortly after opening, and a year later in March 2005. These time frames were
selected in order to avoid the period affected by major roadworks on the M6. Note
that, during this time, traffic volumes nationally showed a general increase
1
. Figures
in italics are estimates. Results from this table are also mapped in Figure 2.4. The
key points to note are:
M6 Toll
Between March 2004 and March 2005, weekday traffic flows on the M6 Toll
showed substantial growth with increases of between 5,300 – 6,200 vehicles per
day (vpd). This growth rate of 15% –16% is significantly higher than that seen
on any other section of motorway in the region.
M6
On the sections of the M6 parallel to the M6 Toll, i.e. between J4A – J11A, there
were significant reductions in traffic flow across the week;
M6 J4A – J5 showed the greatest reduction in traffic of 17,000 vpd on weekdays
(an 11% reduction) between 2003 and 2005;
The northern sections of the M6 parallel route (J9 – J10, J10 – J10A, and J10A –
J11), showed traffic reductions between 4,300vpd (-3%) and 9,700vpd (-7%) on
weekdays. The fact that these reductions are lower than that shown at J4A – J5
may indicate that some of the traffic which re-routed away from these sections
onto the M6 Toll has been replaced by traffic re-routing from local roads; and
On the M6 north and south of the M6 Toll, traffic volumes have increased by
13% and 10% between 2003 and 2005 as traffic re-routes from a variety of other
routes to access the M6 Toll.
Other Motorways and Trunk Roads
The A50 near Stoke on Trent, which is used as an alternative strategic route
(A50/M1) between south-east and north-west England, showed a significant
reduction in traffic (6,200 vpd or -9%). It is likely that this drop represents a re-
routing of some long-distance traffic from this route onto the M6 Toll or M6;
The A38 (between the A5 Weeford Island / M6 Toll T4 and A453) runs parallel to
the M6 Toll and showed a significant reduction of 5,900 vpd or -15% for weekday
traffic from March 2003 to March 2005; and
On the A5 parallel to the M6 Toll, some sections show significant reductions in
traffic implying a re-routing of through traffic.
1
National statistics given in the Traffic in Great Britain Q1 2005 show that in the two years between Q1 2003 and Q1 2005,
there was a 3% increase in motorway traffic flows, which included a 2% increase in car traffic and a 5% increase in goods
vehicle traffic. During the same period there was a 1% increase in traffic on rural A roads, and a 2% reduction in urban A road
traffic.

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Table 2.1 – Average Weekday Traffic Before and After the opening of the M6 Toll
All Vehicles
Before
After
% Change
Number of HGVs
Road
Section
March
2003
March
2004
March
2005
2003–
2004
2004–
2005
2003–
2005
Nov.
2003
March
2004
March
2005
%HGV
March
2005
T2 – T3, Wishaw/The Belfry – A38
36,000
41,300
15%
-
-
-
T3 – T4, A38 – A5 Weeford Island
36,400
41,700
15%
-
-
-
T5 – T6, Shenstone – Brownhills
38,100
44,200
16%
-
-
-
M6 Toll
T6 – T7, Brownhills – A34
37,900
44,100
16%
-
-
-
estimate
7%
J3 – J3A (East of M6 Toll tie-in)
112,300
1
123,600
127,100
10%
3%
13%
35,400
36,400
38,600
30%
J4A – J5
160,900
143,800
143,900
-11%
0%
-11%
42,100
42,400
43,400
30%
J9 – J10
160,000
155,000
155,700
-3%
0%
-3%
-
42,200
27%
J10 – J10A
146,400
137,700
136,700
-6%
-1%
-7%
-
37,300
27%
J10A – J11
103,000
94,100
94,200
-9%
0%
-9%
33,600
33,800
33,300
35%
M6
J12 – J13 (North of M6 Toll tie-in)
109,500
123,800
124,100
13%
0%
13%
-
-
34,900
28%
J6 – J7 (northbound only)
67,000
2
68,000
64,800
1%
-5%
-3%
-
-
-
M42
J9 – J10
74,300
76,400
76,300
3%
0%
3%
-
-
-
A38
A5 Weeford Island – A453
38,400
33,800
32,500
-12%
-4%
-15%
7,300
7,000
6,600
20%
East of Brownhills (A452 – A461)
25,100
19,600
18,900
-22%
-4%
-25%
6,300
5,800
5,600
30%
A5
East of M6 J12, West of Cannock
19,500
18,100
16,100
-7%
-11%
-17%
-
-
-
M54
M6 J10A – J1
42,500
43,500
44,800
2%
3%
5%
10,300
10,700
11,300
25%
A50
East of A520 near Stoke on Trent
71,900
65,100
65,200
-9%
0%
-9%
14,900
13,900
13,800
21%
1
March 03 traffic figures factored from June 03 traffic figures based on March and June 2002 traffic figures.
2
March 03 traffic figures factored from October 03 traffic figures based on March and October 2002 traffic figures.

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T
o
St
ok
e-
on-Trent
Sutton
Coldfield
Walsall
Tamworth
Lichfield
West
Bromwich
BIRMINGHAM
WOLVERHAMPTON
M
6
T
o
ll
M
6
M
54
M
6
M
6
M
5
M
4
2
M6
A
3
8
(M
)
11
10A
1
2
10
9
8
8
8
7
6
5
4A
8
7A
4
7
Stafford
Stafford
12
13
6
A
4
5
2
A
40
97
9
A
4
4
6
A
4
0
9
1
A
5
1
A5
A
3
8
A
4
5
3
A
5
1
2
7
A
4
5
2
A
3
4
A
5
B
4
1
5
4
A5190
A
4
6
0
A5
B
5
0
1
2
A
3
4
A513
1
2
3
Diff
Mar 05
Mar 03
11A
10
M
4
2
A
4
4
9
A5
Stoke-
on-Trent
M
6
A50
M6 Toll
A
5
1
4
8
Cannock
T1
T2
T3
T4
T5
T6
T7
T8
Stafford
Diff
Mar 05
Mar 03
14,600
124,100
109,500
M6
14,600
124,100
109,500
M6
-6,700
65,200
71,900
M6
-6,700
65,200
71,900
M6
-4,300
155,700
160,000
M6
-4,300
155,700
160,000
M6
-9,700
136,700
146,400
M6
-9,700
136,700
146,400
M6
2,300
44,800
42,500
M54
2,300
44,800
42,500
M54
-8,800
94,200
103,000
M6
-8,800
94,200
103,000
M6
14,800
127,100
112,300
M6
14,800
127,100
112,300
M6
2,000
76,300
74,300
M42
2,000
76,300
74,300
M42
-5,900
32,500
38,400
A38
-5,900
32,500
38,400
A38
-6,200
18,900
25,100
A5
-6,200
18,900
25,100
A5
-
44,100
-
M6 Toll
-
44,100
-
M6 Toll
-17,000
143,900
160,900
M6
-17,000
143,900
160,900
M6
© Crown Copyright. Al rights reserved Highways Agency 100018928,2005
Difference
AWT 2005
AWT 2003
Key
Difference
AWT 2005
AWT 2003
Key
Figure 2.4 – Average Weekday Traffic in March 2003 and 2005
V
OLUME
O
F
HGV
S
2.5
The weekday volume of Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) is also shown in Table 2.1,
where data is available. Note that for this table, a HGV is defined as a vehicle longer
than 5.2m (17ft) which is different to the classifications used by MEL for tolling
purposes as shown in Table 1.1. The key points regarding HGV flow changes are:
On the bypassed sections of the M6, the number of HGVs showed little change
whilst the overall traffic volume was reduced. This suggests that it was
predominantly light vehicles which re-routed from the M6 to the M6 Toll during
this period; and
The parallel A roads, A50 and A5 show some reduction in HGV volumes, against
the national trend, but less reduction than that of light vehicles.
C
LASSIFIED
R
ESULTS FOR
M6 T
OLL
T
IE
-
INS
2.6
Comparable results for the volume of HGVs are not available for the M6 Toll.
However, an estimate for 2005 can be made by using results from adjacent sections
of motorway at the tie-ins. These indicate that in March 2005, approximately 7% of
traffic on the M6 Toll traffic was HGVs with length over 5.2m.

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3. Journey Times and Speeds
J
OURNEY
T
IMES FROM
J
OURNEY TIME
D
ATABASE
3.1
The Highways Agency’s recently-built Journey Time Database records historical
journey times based on the best estimates available using MIDAS (Motorway
Incident Detection and Automatic Signalling), Satellite Tracking (ITIS) and
Trafficmaster™. Data from this database has been used to calculate the average
journey times during the peak periods midweek from M6 J4 – J11A, taking either the
M42/M6 Toll or the bypassed section of the M6. The results for midweek days during
the school term in March are shown in Figure 3.1 for the years of 2003 before M6
Toll opening, 2004 after opening
1
, and one year on in 2005. This clearly shows:
After the opening of the M6 Toll, journey times on the M6 showed significant
improvements for the PM peak period traffic, and for southbound traffic in the AM
peak;
In 2005 the M6 Toll provided peak period journey times that were between 4 and
18 minutes quicker than the M6.
Figure 3.1 – Midweek Journey Times from M6 J4 – J11A on M6 or M6 Toll
1
Times on the M6 Toll are not available for March 2004 due to insufficient data.

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S
PEEDS ON THE
M6 J9 – J10
AS MEASURED BY
MIDAS
3.2
The MIDAS system records vehicle flows and average speeds at points across the
motorway network. Historical data from this system can be used to compare speeds
before and after the opening of the M6 Toll.
3.3
A MIDAS site in the busiest section of the M6, J9 (Wednesbury) to J10 (Walsall) was
selected and the comparative midweek speeds and flows for the periods Before
(November 2003) and After Opening of the M6 Toll (March 2004 and March 2005)
are illustrated graphically in Figure 3.2 and Figure 3.3. These show that:
For the northbound traffic, after the opening of the M6 Toll, traffic speeds
improved by around 5–20kph (3–12mph) for the whole day and the speeds
during the evening peak hour dropped to only 60kph (40mph) as compared to an
earlier drop to 50kph (30mph). The extent of the peak period is also reduced to
one hour;
One year after, the speed profile for March 2005 remains roughly similar to the
previous March;
Southbound traffic speeds were around 20kph (12mph) lower than northbound in
the middle of the day and the AM peak showed the worse congestion on this
section with average speeds below 30kph in November 2003;
After the opening of the toll road in 2004 and one year later, the minimum speed
during the AM peak improved and the duration of the congested period was
reduced; and
2004 showed a big improvement in PM peak traffic speeds to speeds of around
80kph. However, one year later PM peak period speeds for the traffic travelling
southbound dropped to around 60kph suggesting that some of the early benefit
seen in March 2004 was not being shown a year later at this particular point on
the M6.

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M6/5964A : Flow/Speed averages Tues/Wed/Thur: Nov 2003 vs Mar 2004 vs Mar 2005
0
20
40
60
80
100
120
06:0
0
06:3
0
07:0
0
07:3
0
08:0
0
08:3
0
09:0
0
09:3
0
10:0
0
10:3
0
11:0
0
11:3
0
12:0
0
12:3
0
13:0
0
13:3
0
14:0
0
14:3
0
15:0
0
15:3
0
16:0
0
16:3
0
17:0
0
17:3
0
18:0
0
18:3
0
19:0
0
19:3
0
20:0
0
20:3
0
21:0
0
21:3
0
22:0
0
22:3
0
23:0
0
23:3
0
Time
F
l
ow
V
e
hi
c
l
e
s
pe
r
Mi
nu
te
a
v
g o
f
l
a
n
e
s
/
S
p
e
e
d
Km
/
h
Flow Nov
2003
Speed Nov
2003
Flow Mar
2004
Speed Mar
2004
Speed Mar
2005
Flow Mar
2005
A5
A38
M42
A412
A449
M5
M42
A456
A449
M5
M6
M6
5964 A
Figure 3.2 – Northbound Midweek Traffic Speeds on M6 J9 – J10 in 2003, 2004 and
2005
M6/5964B : Flow/Speed averages Tues/Weds/Thurs: Nov 2003 vs Mar 2004 vs Mar 2005
0
20
40
60
80
100
120
06
:0
0
06
:3
0
07
:0
0
07
:3
0
08
:0
0
08
:3
0
09
:0
0
09
:3
0
10
:0
0
10
:3
0
11
:0
0
11
:3
0
12
:0
0
12
:3
0
13
:0
0
13
:3
0
14
:0
0
14
:3
0
15
:0
0
15
:3
0
16
:0
0
16
:3
0
17
:0
0
17
:3
0
18
:0
0
18
:3
0
19
:0
0
19
:3
0
20
:0
0
20
:3
0
21
:0
0
21
:3
0
22
:0
0
22
:3
0
23
:0
0
23
:3
0
Time
Fl
ow
V
e
h
i
cl
es
Pe
r M
i
n
u
t
e
a
v
g
of
la
ne
s/S
p
e
e
d
K
m
/
h
Flow Nov
2003
Speed Nov
2003
Flow Mar
2004
Speed Mar
2004
Flow Mar
2005
Speed Mar
2005
A5
A38
M42
A412
A449
M5
M42
A456
A449
M5
M6
M6
5964 B
Figure 3.3 – Southbound Midweek Traffic Speeds on M6 J9 – J10 in 2003, 2004 and
2005

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4. Route Choice
Introduction
4.1
Data from vehicles with a satellite tracker attached (ITIS) can be used to study
origin/destination movements by time of day and journey time. In this study, sample
origins and destinations have been selected to and from key points on the network
which might be affected by the opening of the new toll motorway, namely:
M6 J3 to J12; and
M40 J16 to M6 J12.
4.2
ITIS-tracked vehicles are predominantly fleet vehicles and thus their drivers may not
make choices representative of all motorway users. They also include a very high
proportion of HGVs, which as shown earlier (2.6) are much less likely to use the M6
Toll. Thus route choice has been analysed for light vehicles
1
only. The choices are
for the whole of 2003, up to the opening of the M6 Toll, and the whole of 2004, for the
time periods:
AM peak (07:30 – 09:30);
inter-peak (10:00 – 15:00); and
PM peak (16:30 – 18:30).
Route Choice: M6 J3 to J12
4.3
Figure 4.1 illustrates the proportions of ITIS-tracked light vehicles making through
trips choosing either of the two routes on Monday to Thursdays, and Fridays. This
shows that in 2004, after the opening of the M6 Toll:
During the peak periods, between 31% and 41% of ITIS-tracked vehicles on
through journeys took the M6 Toll;
A higher percentage of southbound vehicles used the M6 Toll than northbound in
all time periods except Friday PM; and
The highest percentage of vehicles travelling on the M6 Toll in all peak periods
(excluding AM peak southbound) occurred on Fridays.
Route Choice: M40 J16 to M6 J12
4.4
Vehicles travelling between these two points now have a choice of three different
routes around the West Midlands motorway ‘box’. Figure 4.2 shows a comparison of
the proportions of vehicles making through journeys between J16 of the M40 and J12
of the M6 before (2003) and after (2004) the opening of the M6 Toll. The main points
to note are:
Before the opening of the M6 Toll in 2003, nearly half of the peak period through
traffic travelled via the M42/M5 and half by the M42/M6; and
Following the opening of the M6 Toll, through journeys now appear to have been
split three ways: 36% via the M5, 38% via the M6 and 26% via the M6 Toll.
1
‘Light vehicles’ are defined as cars and LGVs (below 3T) in this context.

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Figure 4.1 – Route Choice for Through Journeys between M6 J3 and J12
Figure 4.2 – Route Choice for Through Journeys between the M40 J16 and M6 J12

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5. Safety
P
ERSONAL
I
NJURY
A
CCIDENTS
5.1
The impact of the opening of the toll road on road safety in the region has been
assessed by using records of traffic accidents involving injury to at least one person.
Annual totals of these personal injury accidents on the key routes in this study are
shown in Table 5.1 below. To allow for the increases in traffic flows during this time
period, accident rates are also shown. These show the number of injury accidents
per million vehicle kilometres – and thus allows a comparison with the national
average by road type.
Table 5.1 – Summary of Accidents on the Motorway Network, Before and After
opening of the M6 Toll
Annual Number of
Personal Injury
Accidents (PIA)
Annual Average PIA Rate per
million vehicle km travelled
Route
Description
Section
Length
(km)
Average Pre
Construction
(1997–1999)
Post
Opening
(2004)
Change in
Number of
accidents
(Pre
Construction
vs. Post
Opening)
Pre
Opening
Post
Opening
National
Average
for Road
Type
(2000)
M6
(M1 Interchange
to M6 J3A)
38
94
112
+18
0.065
0.070
0.089
M6 J3A – M6
J12
43
254
142
10
-112
0.109
0.075
0.089
M6 J12 to M6
J15
35
153
180
+27
0.112
0.125
0.089
M6 Toll
43
-
25
25
-
0.038
0.089
A5 (M42 J10 –
A449 Gailey)
56.5
167
116
-51
0.240
0.184
0.226
A50 (A38 to M6
J15)
79
183
140
-43
0.119
0.070
0.089
5.2
From the above table, the key points regarding the apparent safety impacts based on
the first year are:
There was a big drop in the annual number of accidents on the bypassed section
of the M6 in the first year after the M6 Toll opened. The number was almost
halved and the accident rate on this section changed from above to below the
national average for a 3-lane motorway;
In the first year after opening, the accident rate on the M6 Toll was half of that on
the parallel section of the M6;
On the M6 north and south of the M6 Toll tie-ins, there were increases in the
number of injury accidents. The southernmost part of the M6 up to J3A, still has
10
This figure is likely to have been impacted by the extensive roadworks on J5 – J6 and J7 – J8.

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an accident rate below the national average whilst M6 J12 – J15 is worse than
average; and
Both the A5 and A50 showed reductions in both the number of accidents and
their rate.
F
ATAL AND
S
ERIOUS ACCIDENTS
5.3
The severity of injury accidents is categorised as fatal, serious or slight according to
the injury level of the worst casualty. The changes in the numbers of the fatal and
serious accidents on the M6 are shown in Table 5.2. These results show:
On the bypassed section of the M6, the number of serious and fatal accidents
dropped by over a half;
The number of serious accidents on the M6 Toll was far less than the reduction
on the bypassed M6; thus there was a net reduction in accidents for the two
routes combined; and
Overall, on the M6 Toll and the M6 from its merge with the M1 to J15, there was
an annual reduction of 18 accidents.
Table 5.2 – Number of Accidents including a Fatality or Serious Injury
Number of Accidents including a Fatality or Serious
Injury per Year on M6 & M6 Toll
Section
Average per Year
during Pre-
construction Period
(1997–1999)
One Year Post
Opening (2004)
Change
M6/M1 Interchange – M6 Junction 3A
19
19
0
M6 J3A – J12
28
13
-15
M6 J12 to M6 J15
17
8
-9
M6 Toll Road
-
6
6
Total
64
46
-18

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6. Summary
Traffic Volumes
6.1
Traffic growth on the M6 Toll has been substantially higher than the national average
for motorways.
6.2
On opening, the first full month, January 2004, showed a daily number of workday
users’ trips of 33,000. In the first three months, this increased by 28%.
6.3
The bypassed sections of the M6, which include the busiest sections of the whole
road, showed reduced traffic volumes in 2004 and one year on, these reductions
have been maintained. However the M6 north and south of the tie-ins of the M6 Toll
showed traffic growth above the national average.
6.4
The A50 and the A5 roads which are used as alternative strategic routes to the M6
have shown reduced traffic volumes.
6.5
Traffic re-routing onto the M6 Toll is predominantly light vehicles. The proportion of
HGVs at the tie-in sections of the M6 Toll is shown to be 7%, whereas on bypassed
sections of the M6 it is around 30%.
Journey Times & Speeds
6.6
Journey Times using the M6 Toll between J4 and J12 of the M6 are up to 37 minutes
faster than that on the M6 before opening.
6.7
For users of the bypassed section of the M6, peak period journey times and speeds
improved after the opening of the M6 Toll, and these improvements have largely
been sustained, one year later.
Route Choice
6.8
Data from satellite-tracked vehicles shows that roughly 30 – 40% of vehicles making
through trips between J3 and J12 of the M6 use the M6 Toll. However, these are
predominantly fleet vehicles and may not make choices representative of all
motorway users.
Safety
6.9
In the first year after the opening of the M6 Toll the number of Personal Injury
Accidents on the bypassed section of the M6 reduced significantly; the number of
accidents where someone was killed or seriously injured was reduced by over a half,
compared to the late 1990’s.
6.10 The M6 Toll has a good safety record in its first year – the accident rate is less than
half the national average for a motorway.