POLL: Are the roads around Norfolk quieter these days..?

Are higher fuel prices literally driving us off the road..?

It certainly seems that way if you drive any distance in Norfolk just lately.

It's a view backed by the county council, which monitors traffic flows on all our major roads.

Graham Samways, a senior engineer in Norfolk County Council's computer traffic control centre, said: 'We don't yet have authoritative figures, but there is certainly an impression of less traffic on the roads in Norwich, Great Yarmouth and King's Lynn, which come under our Intelligent Transport Systems and where we have traffic control CCTV cameras.

'We have taken a snapshot comparison of a recent typical day with a similar day last year and it appears that traffic is moving more freely, with shorter delays and marginally less congestion.

'Observations also suggest that the peak periods may be shorter. We would need to analyse trends to be sure that this was because of less traffic on the roads at any one time , but that certainly could be an important factor.'

Mr Samways said high fuel prices could be encouraging people to switch to improved public transport, and there had also been anecdotal evidence of more people cycling and walking - perhaps encouraged by the recent good weather.

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Luke Bosdet, from the AA, said: 'We do regular surveys asking are people cutting back on car use, other spending, or a cmbination of the two.

'Two thirds of people are trying to cut back in some shape or form. The simple fact is along with other higher costs, people are getting to breaking point.' Mr Bosdet said people living in rural areas were hit hardest, with higher fuel prices and lower wages than those in urban areas.

'People are going to have to start talking to each other and find ways of sharing journeys,' he said. 'You need someone to co-ordinate this - maybe something as simple as a village noticeboard.'

John Franklin, from the RAC, said: 'We did some research at the end of February which revealed 75pc of people had reduced their journeys because of the high price of fuel.

'People are walking more and linking up their journeys - if they're going to pick up the kids from school, they'll go and do their shopping as well.'

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