The summer holidays are over and when you see the volume of traffic on the roads during the morning rush hour commute to work, you really know about it. In the school holiday weeks isn’t it great when commute times drop dramatically, simply due to parents not driving children to school. According to recent Trafficmaster reports, this constitutes a 10% reduction in traffic. Increased congestion in the mornings as a result of school run traffic causes average journey times on some roads to triple in length. Is this a reason to consider staggering either school or business hours to cut the peak traffic periods? Will this be the next government white paper?

The congestion only happens briefly and is worse in the morning when school, office and retail commuting join forces on our highways and byways. Yet, on short sections of main and local roads, it can create significant delays, irritation and extra vehicle fuel gulping.

Philip Hale, spokesman for Trafficmaster, comments: “School holidays cut traffic on our roads by about 10 per cent, from a combination of parents taking holidays and not driving their children to school, but the effects vary widely.”

It seems sensible then for drivers to do all they can to avoid adding to the problem, by making detours from congested areas. “Knowing when and how your route will be affected and what alternatives there are could also save you significant time, money and frustration from getting caught in jams,” Mr Hale concludes. And it would also help the environmental cost of more CO2 emissions and fuel consumption. Road rage might reduce too.

We can all partake in intelligent driving. By using advanced GPS or satellite navigation with real-time traffic data, vehicle tracking, speed alerts and congested zone reports, offering an alternative route. You can also log on and get live traffic information on the PC at home or in the office.

Denis Chick, Trafficmaster's Director of Communications, said: "There are now two peaks, at 8am and 9am during school term time, effectively extending the rush hour period by a further hour.

I can believe it. Well, it’s unlikely any of us can deter parents from ferrying children back and forth to school; after all, rightly or wrongly, most of us do this, concerned about safety and security. I guess a vehicle tracking device with real-time traffic monitoring and the ability to send and receive alerts is one good answer. It doesn’t cost a fortune either which has to be good news for busy businesspeople stuck in those school run jams.

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