Sofa surfers might be easing our traffic problems
The huge growth in UK van numbers is not being solely driven by people turning to online shopping.
While there are now at least 3.7 million vans on the road, fewer than one in twenty-five (4%) are involved in delivering orders to consumers and businesses.
Analysis for the RAC Foundation suggests that in 2016, 2.7 billion packages were delivered in the UK.
Around 1.8 billion of these were so-called business-to-consumer (B2C) deliveries, the vast majority of which will have been the result of online shopping (e-commerce).
A further 700 million or so packages were delivered on a business-to-business (B2B) basis.
The balance will have been deliveries sent by consumers to other consumers or business: (C2X) deliveries.
But while only 4% of vans will be involved in parcel delivery, they do account for a disproportionately high number of miles travelled; some 10% of all van mileage
This means that one in ten of the vans people encounter on the roads are engaged in parcel and packet deliveries, much of which is the result of e-commerce
The work by Professor Alan Braithwaite of LCP Consulting says that the average UK household buys something online at least 2.5 times a month
But Professor Braithwaite suggests the growth in web retailing might actually have helped limit total traffic growth as people use their cars less to get to the shops.