WHY do we endure roadside surveys that spark nightmare traffic jams when technology could make them a thing of the past?

This is the question being asked across Bournemouth today after a six-mile rush-hour tailback brought traffic to a standstill on Bournemouth's Spur Road.

Astonishingly, as Bournemouth ground to a halt, a separate traffic survey that DID use the latest number plate recognition cameras passed off without incident in neighbouring Poole.

Angry motorists, many who queued for an hour and lost hundreds of pounds in wages during the Bournemouth jam, used the Daily Echo website to blast the £2 million South East Dorset Transport Study.

Meanwhile, the three day Poole survey finishes today and barely anybody has noticed.

Simon Armstrong, of Grosvenor - the company commissioning the Poole study - said: "A total of 30 electronic survey cameras have been used, as opposed to manual surveys or questionnaires, to minimise any disruption to the local community."

Officials behind the survey which brought Bournemouth to a standstill say roadside interviews were necessary because cameras cannot record where drivers have come from and are heading.

Survey bosses say this information is vital to the study, which will outline the area's needs over the next two decades.

But this explanation offered little comfort to drivers caught up in the chaos. "In the end, when I saw it was a traffic survey causing the jams my head just sank into my steering wheel," said 24-year-old motorist Stuart Browne. "I mean, a survey to help reduce traffic jams causing one of the biggest jams of the year. The lunatics really have taken over the asylum."

The Poole survey was to determine traffic movements around the Dolphin Shopping Centre, which is owned by Grosvenor.

Borough of Poole transport boss Julian McLaughlin, said: "We welcome Grosvenor's sponsorship of this survey, which concentrates on how drivers get to and from town centre car parks.

"The results will provide us with valuable information that will help shape improvements to the town transport network."