Road travel

Yorkshire's road network

While it's easy to enjoy a leisurely pace when enjoying all that Yorkshire's countryside and coast has to offer, getting around the region fast by road is not as easy unless you are close to one of the region's motorways.

The motorway routes crossing Yorkshire from east to west and north to south play an essential part in travelling around the region with little alternative for crossing the region quickly by road. More than 58 years after the opening of the first stretch of  M1 it became possible to drive from London to Newcastle by motorway in March 2018 after completion of a section of A1(M) across Yorkshire.

If your journey start and finish points are not near to one of these routes, you could easily face a choice of a time-consuming, fuel-conscious, leisurely direct route or heading for the motorway and a considerably longer mileage to get there as fast as possible.

The M62 starts at North Cave, 18 miles west of Hull docks, and passes through East Yorkshire, a small part of North Yorkshire and across West Yorkshire before crossing The Pennines near Huddersfield at the highest point on Britain's motorway network. The road can become very busy at peak commuter hours, particularly just south of Leeds, where there have been attempts to increase capacity of the road by turning it into a 'smart' motorway with overhead gantry signs.

Apart from short sections of urban dual carriageway in congested towns and cities and a few short bypasses around towns and villages, the only other notable dual carriageway routes in the Yorkshire region are:
A168/A19- linking the A1(M) near Dishforth to Middlesbrough (32 miles).
M18- linking the M1 in South Yorkshire with the M62 in East Yorkshire and to the M180 leading to North Lincolnshire (27 miles).
A64- from the A1(M) at Bramham to its bottleneck beyond the York by-pass (19.7 miles).
A63- Hull docks to the point where the M62 starts (18 miles).
M621- Linking M62 and M1 to Leeds (8.5 miles).
A650- from Bingley to Keighley (4.7 miles).
A629- Keighley to Cross Hills (4 miles).
M606- Bradford ring road to M62 (2.7 miles).

Typical travel times and speeds

Typical travel times across the region are unlikely to average above 50 mph unless the journey starts and finishes near to one of the motorways.

Examples are:
Doncaster - Ingleton 88 miles 2hr 8min Average 41mph
Sheffield - Middlesbrough 99 miles 1hr 48min Average 55mph
Huddersfield - Scarborough 90 miles 1hr 54min Average 47mph
Halifax- Hornsea 80 miles 1hr 44min Average 46mph
Goole - Northallerton 69 miles 1hr 11mins Average 58mph
or 58 miles 1hr 24mins Average 41mph
Rotherham - Richmond 86 miles 1hr 37mins Average 53mph
Skipton - Bridlington 89 miles 2hr 13min Average 40mph
Bradford - Whitby 90 miles 1hr 57min Average 46mph

'Leeds' congestion is not in Leeds

Top ten congested roads cited to be in Leeds are actually in Bradford and Kirklees West Yorkshire has two of the most congested roads in the UK according to a report by data intelligence and analytics company Inrix Inc., but the roads are cited to be in Leeds when they are actually in the City of Bradford and Kirklees metropolitan districts.

The A657 at Shipley, near Bradford, is part of the Leeds Road/Saltaire Road route now increasingly heavily used by traffic from Airedale heading to jobs relocated in Leeds rather than in Bradford The A62 Leeds Road in Huddersfield which joins the A644 Huddersfield Road to reach Dewsbury In the report on the UK's most congested roads Leeds Road/Saltaire Road between Saltaire and  Greengates is the fourth most congested in the country offering a yearly total of 44 hours of delays. The section of road is entirely in the City of Bradford metropolitan district.

The report also sets Huddersfield Road/Leeds Road, between Dewsbury and Huddersfield, as the ninth most congested in the UK, offering 40 hours of delays annually. The roads are entirely in the Huddersfield-based Kirklees metropolitan district.

Based on its findings and geography, Inrix Inc. ranks Leeds ninth among urban areas for congestion, although none of the top 15 most congested roads are actually in the Leeds metropolitan district. Sheffield is placed seventh as a congested area, but again without any roads in the Sheffield metropolitan district falling within the top 15.

Inrix says congestion cost the UK economy nearly £8 billion in 2018. Trevor Reed, transportation analyst at Inrix, said: "Congestion costs Brits billions of pounds each year. Unaddressed, it will continue to have serious consequences for national and local economies, businesses and citizens in the years to come."

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