Radical changes to the way staff work and commute are needed to avoid future gridlock on the roads according to the CBI.
A “staggered” commute, car-sharing and working from home would all help ease congestion, the CBI said.
The business organisation also called for more American-style yellow school buses to cut school-run congestion.
In a report, the CBI said road investment should focus on congestion pinchpoints, while there should be greater use of private investment to help deliver road improvements.
The report also said that road pricing should be considered if new roads are built, while tolls on new lanes on motorways and A-roads might also help prevent congestion building up again.
A CBI survey shows 80 per cent of companies see roads as being “vital” to their business, and 96 per cent of companies want to see fresh thinking from an incoming government and a willingness to tackle rush-hour congestion as a matter of priority.
The CBI said that, with vehicle traffic having grown by a quarter in just 20 years, road congestion now costs the economy an estimated £7 billion to £8 billion a year, which is likely to more than double by 2025 unless more action is taken.
CBI deputy director-general John Cridland said: “For too long, Britain’s roads have been a cause of frustration and delays for our businesses and commuters. Some Government initiatives, such as road-widening schemes or using the hard shoulder on motorways, have been welcome but hardly scratch the surface of the problem.
“Now is the time for fresh thinking on the roads. We need a radical overhaul of how we travel and manage our road system if we are to do more than simply tinker at the edges. Merely slowing the endless rise in congestion is not enough. The CBI would like to see policymakers put the same amount of energy and vision into roads as they are doing on high-speed rail.”
A Department for Transport spokesman said: “We are tackling congestion bottlenecks and keeping goods and motorists moving on our roads. That’s why the Government is investing up to £6 billion to improve the national road network, including extending hard shoulder running to some of the busiest parts of motorways and widening and junction improvements. Adding extra capacity where it is most needed will deliver safer, faster and more reliable journeys for motorists.
“But it is also vital we continue to invest in and develop all our transport networks to ensure that we deliver a sustainable transport system that increases choice, supports economic growth and makes a full contribution to our environmental objectives.”