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Google to start building self driving cars

Hot off the press is motoring news that Google is to start building "self driving" cars aimed at developing self drive cars for the public.

Google's self driving electric cars will be limited to around 25mph initially for safety.

The cars will only have a stop start button, no other controls including no stearing wheel, no accelerator or brake pedals and will navigate using Google maps.

The electric cars are designed to be pedestrian friendly with flexible windsreen instead of glass and softer front for pedestrian safety.

Google co-founder Sergey Brin told reporters that the firm is to make 100 prototype cars that drive themselves however it is thought unlikely that Google will start mass producing cars for resale and is more likely to work with other car manufacturers to bring self drive electric cars to market safely.

Google's self driving cars navigate their surroundings using a combination of GPS, laser and camera data.

There are hurdles to overcome such as which roads, in which American states, Google will be allowed to test the self drive cars as Google develops it's self drive cars project.

Plus who is liabile in the event of a accident?

Self Drive cars are only likely to be practical in city centres initially where road speeds are lower, pollution, congestion and road safety for pedestrians is a focus of attention.

For motorway driving adaptive cruise control which regulates distance from the car in front is already available in production cars in the UK with Volkswagen being one of the leaders in adaptive cruise control.

Chart of UK Vehicles to UK Population 1992 to 2012

The following is a chart of the number of vehicles registered for use on UK roads to the number of UK population between 1992 and 2012.




The number of vehicles registered on UK roads has increased by 9.6 million between 1992 and 2012 or a rise of 38.5%.

The number of people living in the UK has increased by 6 million between 1992 and 2012 or a rise of 10.7%.

20 years ago vehicles to population percentage was 44.5%

in 2012 the ratio of vehicles to population had increased to 55.7% and increase of 11% on 1992.

The rise in two car families contributing to the increase in cars registered on UK roads in the last 20 years.

So What is The Most Popular Car in the UK?

The most common car in Great Britain is the Ford Focus (I was very suprised to read that) of which there are around 1.5 Million are licensed on UK roads.

The Ford Fiesta (not so suprised) comes a close second at 1.3 Million.

UK Figures source, the DVLA for the year 2013.

What Is The Ratio of Male to Female Drivers in the UK?

The "White Van Man" predominately male driving "professions" mean that there are a lot more male drivers than female drivers when you also take into account lorry drivers and other factors, right?

A caveat here on the use of the word "profession" based on the crazy tailgating, speeding and generally dangerous driving you can see daily on UK roads by van drivers no doubt in a hurry. Apologies to those van drivers who do actually care about other road users and their safety of course you too often appear the exceptions sadly.

Number of Female Drivers in the UK


Interestingly the DVLA statistics show that 40% of the 29 Million or so private cars in the UK have a female registered keeper and as per the previous post cars are around 83% (2013) of licenced vehicles on the road.

There has been a 72% increase of female registered keepers since 1994 compared to a rise of 21% for males in the same period.

There are are now a greater % of female drivers that ever before.

Ratio of Male to Females in the UK


Department of Health statistics for 2013 show that the ratio of male to female births in the UK were approximately 51 male to 49% female which has been fairly consistent over the last six years or so at least.

In 2007 statistics show there were around 61Million people in the UK of which approximately 51% were male and 49% female.

The Office for National Statistics estimate the total UK population as 63.7 Million in Mid 2012 being an increase of 0.7% or around 420,000 on the previous year.

UK Traffic News Only Features Current Traffic News Relevant Today

We've noticed at UK traffic news that changes to Google's search algorithm have affected "news" related searches and increasingly meant that over the last year or so many websites that claim to be showing current traffic news are showing extremely out of date traffic news.

You may have noticed that Google has placed a far greater emphasis on local radio stations and local newspaper websites as being more prominently featured in "news" related searches.

We had a look today for instance around the web and found news posted on a Surrey newspaper featuring prominently in Google was only relevant to 15 April which is four weeks ago we have seen that a lot recently. Crazy.

Why is this? Local radio stations and newspapers are trying to get online and post static pages that Google tends to favour.

However traffic news is fluid and changing NOT STATIC! and that is the reason for the weakness in Google's search results, featuring old outdated static pages.

Our static pages at UK Traffic News show the ever changing current traffic news on them that is constantly updated throughout the date and night and do not show old fixed posts about specific incidents that go out of date very quickly.

See our Bing and Yahoo recommendation below because of this flaw in Google's "news" listings. Bing and Yahoo have not made the same mistake, yet at least and hopefully won't.

Today's traffic news

We would like to emphasise that at UK traffic news we only aims to feature current traffic news relevant to today or in the case of roadworks are publicly notified roadworks that are planned.

Today's 's motorway traffic news and today's regional traffic news from around the UK

It is a shame that a large company such as Google would make such a fundamental mistake, in our opinion, in its search algorithm and would give such great prominence to out of date "news" when that news is clearly old news that is no longer relevant. The opposite we suspect of what Google was trying to achieve but probably will be very slow to recognise and correct.

It seems obvious that Google has reviewed news related sites and has decided that local newspapers and local radio stations should be given preference as the place to find news.

While this might be true for their on-air statements or current hard copy news it certainly is not true if you do a web search and take a look at their websites. A lot of it is old hat now.

Hopefully Google will realise that they are not actually featuring current news by this change in their search algorithm.

It is particularly true of traffic news.

At UK traffic news we don't create pages that feature old news that will be indexed by the search engines and only make searches for people looking for traffic news more difficult by being affected by lots of old now to date news.

Traffic Search Recommendation

For this reason we recommend Bing.com or Yahoo.co.uk that have not made the same mistake and feature more up to date "traffic news" related searches not giving undue preference to local radio stations or local paper websites.

Of course we would rather you used UK Traffic News for your traffic updates and information we are working hard to only show you current traffic news for TODAY!

List of the Top Car Sales by Manufacturer in 2013

The following is a list of the top car sales in the UK by car manufacturer.

Ford is still a way in front with Vauxhall and Volkswagen in 2nd and 3rd place respectively.

The popularity of the Ford Focus and Ford Fiesta helping to keep Ford ahead of the rest in 2013.


Manufacturer 2013 Sales % Market Share



Ford 188,993 14.25
Vauxhall 150,805 11.37
Volkswagen 115,346 8.7
Audi 84,528 6.38
BMW 73,604 5.55
Nissan 70,856 5.34
Peugeot 63,628 4.8
Mercedes Benz 62,310 4.7
Toyota 54,003 4.07
Citroen 48,516 3.66
Hyundai 44,132 3.33
Kia 43,205 3.26
Skoda 37,306 2.81
Fiat 34,033 2.57
Honda 33,598 2.53
Land Rover 33,579 2.53
Mini 28,467 2.15
Seat 25,681 1.94
Renault 22,354 1.69
Volvo 19,054 1.44
Suzuki 18,859 1.42
Mazda 17,838 1.35
Jaguar 9,813 0.74
Dacia 8,297 0.63
Chevrolet 7,465 0.56
Mitsubishi 5,431 0.41
Lexus 4,806 0.36
Porsche 4,632 0.35
Smart 3,263 0.25
Alfa Romeo 3,163 0.24
Chrysler 1,551 0.12
Subaru 1,187 0.09
Jeep 1,091 0.08
Abarth 807 0.06
Bentley 727 0.05
Aston Martin 575 0.04
Ssangyong 322 0.02
Infiniti 266 0.02
Maserati 194 0.01
Perodua 165 0.01
MG 156 0.01
Lotus 122 0.01
Proton 15 0

Will Ford be top in 2014?




Has Congestion On UK Roads Got Worse?

When you are sat in a pile of traffic do you sit there thinking the traffic and traffic congestion is getting worse?

Did you know that Local ‘A’ roads account for around 9% of all roads in England, but carry around a third of all traffic around England.

Increase in Congestion in England in 2013


The Government measures a traffic speed using in-vehicle GPS (Global Positioning Systems) to record journey times and the number of vehicles using automatic traffic counters.

Peak period is officially classed as between 7am to 10am weekdays Monday to Friday and during peak periods in the 21 months ended December 2013 average speeds have fallen steadily which is an indication of increased congestions.

So is this due to an increase in the number of cars or vehicles on 'A' roads?

The downward trend in average traffic speed and increase in congestion over this period is at least partly due to the level of rainfall over the last 21 months. According to the Met Office 2012 was the wettest year on record in England and the first three months of 2013 were wetter than each of the same months in 2012. A good indicator that weather conditions are at least partly to blame with January 2013 particularly being affected by snow.

In more recent months more cars were reported to be using 'A' roads which also contributed to congestion and reductions in average speed. However this is perhaps as weather conditions were slightly better more drivers were prepared to venture out rather than during bad weather months.

Increase in Number of Vehicles on the Road

The DVLA reported that there were 35.0 Million vehicles registered and licensed on the road in Great Britain at the end of 2013 which is a 1.5% increase on 2012 and the biggest annual increase since 2007. Just of 29 Million of the licenced vehicles were cars or around 83%.

It would therefore be wrong to totally blame the weather due to the rise in number of vehicles licensed for road use.

The number of vehicles licensed each year rose at a faster rate between 1994 and 2005 and although increasing every year since 2005 is at a slower rate compared to pre 2005. The recession no doubt having an effect on this.

Conclusion and looking forward

It would perhaps be fair to conclude that a mixture of the increase number of cars and vehicles licensed to use the roads in Great Britain and the particularly bad weather conditions during 2012 and 2013 have both contributed to the increased level of congestion on UK roads and slower average traffic speeds in peak periods.

As the UK comes out of recession it is likely the number of vehicles licensed for road use will increase and this is unlikely to mean congestion is going to reduce and if weather conditions in 2014 and 2015 are wet or poor like 2012 and 2013 that will only make matters even worse.

UK Traffic News - Website Update April 2014

We have been looking at ways of improving the UK Traffic News website, something we regularly do.

Users of our site since 2009 will have noticed a number of changes over the years:

  • improved menu an navigation structures
  • dedicated motorway and regional pages
  • Driving information section added, road tax rates etc.
  • cleaner look traffic search page
  • introduction of user feedback page
  • improved colour schemes to make site easier to read

... to name a few.

Our blog has also been centralised here from April 2014 which was previously on a separate website.

New Developments

We would appreciate user feedback about a few other developments we are considering.

We are considering, planning a new directory of:

  • car dealerships
  • garages and service centres 
  • auto parts shops
  • MOT centres
  • haulage firms
  • taxi firms

And other useful information for drivers and those interested in travel by road. 

Interested in featuring your business in the directory get in touch and follow UK Traffic News on Twitter

New Road Tax Rates From 1 April 2014

On UK Traffic News we aim to feature other driving information that is useful for drivers in addition to the latest traffic news.

Our section of road tax rates for taxing your car has been updated as the rates of tax have changed from 1 April 2014.

The majority of the car road tax bands have increased by £5.

Here is where you can find the list of road tax rates for renewing the road tax for your car from 1 April 2014.

Road tax is charged based on the CO2 emissions for your car and you can find the CO2 emissions for your car on the car's registration documents.