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UK drivers spend 30 hours on average in congestion

Increase in traffic prompts gridlock warning

Drivers in London wasted more than 100 hours in gridlock last year, contributing to a UK average of 30 hours spent in delays.

INRIX has published its 2015 Traffic Scorecard, which analysed traffic congestion in more than 100 cities worldwide.

London topped the list, with drivers wasting an average of 101 hours, or more than four days, in gridlock in 2015.

Across the UK, drivers spent 30 hours on average in delays last year, consistent with 2014, but the UK dropped to sixth in the European ranking as a result of Switzerland seeing a rise in traffic levels.

Belgium remains Europe’s most gridlocked country, with drivers stuck in traffic for 44 hours on average.

Congestion was up slightly in 11 of the 18 UK metropolitan areas in 2015, compared to 14 in 2014. The biggest increase outside of London was in Belfast, where drivers sat idle for 38 hours, impacted by roadworks on the M2 as a result of a road improvement scheme.

Birmingham experienced the biggest decline in traffic delays, with a decrease of 2.5 hours annually, which could be attributed to the completion of roadworks on the M6 and redevelopment projects in the city centre.

The UK economy continues to grow, increasing by 2.2% in 2015. Unemployment fell to 5.1%, its lowest level in nearly ten years. The UK population is expected to have hit 65 million in 2015, an annual increase of up to 500,000. These factors continue to have an adverse impact on traffic levels, with an increasing number of roadwork, building and construction projects nationwide, more commercial and private vehicles on the road and more people commuting to work by car.

Urbanisation is a key driver of congestion, and London’s population topped 8.6 million last year, the highest since its 1939 peak, increasing by more than 100,000. This contributed to drivers in the capital spending a record 101 hours on average stuck in traffic, the first time a city has surpassed 100 hours wasted in gridlock in a year. As a result, London tops INRIX’s congestion ranking of major cities worldwide and remains Europe’s gridlock capital for the second year running.

“London is the victim of its own success, with a robust jobs market and a growing economy attracting more people, more construction and consequently more traffic,” said Bryan Mistele, president and CEO of INRIX.

“Transport for London is tackling this problem with its £4 billion Road Modernisation Plan. Whilst in the short term the roadworks from this initiative are frustrating for drivers, they are a step towards creating a more sustainable and modernised transport network.”

UK’s ten most congested metropolitan areas in 2015 (ranked by annual hours wasted):

Rank

UK Metropolitan Area

Hours Wasted in 2015

Change from 2014 (in Hours)

1

London Commute Zone

101

+5.2

2

Gr. Manchester

51

-0.4

3

Gr. Belfast

38

+0.9

4

Merseyside

37

+0.3

5

S. Nottinghamshire

35

+0.6

6

Birmingham / Black Country

34

-2.5

7

Avon & N. Somerset

30

-0.4

8

Leeds-Bradford

29

+0.3

9

Coventry & Warwick

28

+0.3

10

S. Yorkshire

27

-0.3

 

Britain’s Most Congested Roads

INRIX also identified the worst congested roads in the UK, as well as the worst times to travel. London roads were the busiest during the mid-week rush-hour with the A217 experiencing the most congestion in the country, delaying motorists by 110 hours – 26 hours more than the next worst road, the A215 from Camberwell to Croydon.

Outside of the capital, a five-mile stretch of the A8 in Edinburgh was the most congested road with drivers spending an average of 43 hours in gridlock.

The UK’s most congested roads in 2015 (ranked by annual hours wasted):

 

Rank

Area

Road

From

To

Distance (Miles)

Worst Peak Period

Worst Day/Hour

Total Delay Per Year (Hours)

1

London

A217

Rosehill Roundabout

New Kings Road

10.37

AM

Weds 08:00

110.32

2

London

A215

Albany Road: Camberwell

Shirley Road: Croydon

9.54

PM

Fri

18:00

84.04

3

London

A4

Henlys Roundabout: Hounslow

Holborn Circus

14.64

AM

Weds 09:00

80.96

4

London

A4

Aldwych

Henlys Roundabout: Hounslow

14.09

PM

Weds 18:00

77.96

5

London

A23

Thornton Heath

Westminster Bridge

8.6

PM

Tues 08:00

76.12

 

The UK’s most congested roads outside London in 2015 (ranked by annual hours wasted):

 

Rank

Area

Road

From

To

Distance (Miles)

Worst Peak Period

Worst Day/Hour

Total Delay Per Year (Hours)

1

Edinburgh

A8

Princes Street

Maybury Road

5.3

PM

Tues 17:00

42.96

2

Manchester

A580

Boothstown: Worsley

Swinton Park Manchester

7.18

AM

Tues

08:00

33.48

3

Manchester

M60

J9 Trafford Park

J13 Worsley

4.86

PM

Tues 17:00

23.2

4

Newcastle

A1/A1M

Washington-Birtley Services

Lobley Hill: Gateshead

5.68

PM

Fri 17:00

22.92

5

Manchester

A5103

M60 J5: Northenden

Mancunian Way

4.55

AM

Mon 08:00

21.16

 

UK vs. Europe: How do we Measure Up?

Of the 13 European countries analysed, 70% experienced a decrease in congestion in 2015. This can be attributed to a sluggish Europe-wide economy, with an average quarterly GDP growth rate of 0.3% in the second half of last year, which remains below the pre-crisis peak of 2008.

Belgium topped the list with drivers spending 44 hours in traffic congestion, followed by the Netherlands (39 hours) and Germany (38). Despite traffic being up in 61% of cities, the UK moved down to sixth.

Countries in Europe with the highest levels of congestion (ranked by annual hours wasted):

 

European Country 2015 Rank

European Country 2014 Rank

Country

2014 Avg. Hours Wasted

2015 Avg. Hours Wasted

Change from 2014 in Hours

1

1

Belgium

51

44

-6.3

2

2

Netherlands

41

39

-1.5

3

3

Germany

39

38

-0.7

4

4

Luxemburg

34

33

-0.9

5

6

Switzerland

29

30

1.2

6

5

UK

30

30

-0.1

7

7

France

29

28

-0.3

8

8

Austria

25

25

0.4

9

9

Ireland

24

25

0.5

10

10

Italy

20

19

-0.6

11

11

Spain

17

18

0.2

12

12

Portugal

6

6

-0.2

13

13

Hungary

5

5

-1.0

 

The Traffic Situation in Europe’s Cities

Although London topped the list of Europe’s most gridlocked cities, Stuttgart experienced the highest increase, reaching 73 average hours wasted in 2015, an increase of 14% from 2014. This propelled Stuttgart from fifth to second in the ranking, which can be attributed to low fuel prices, a record number of new registered vehicles and more people commuting to work by car. Cologne, which took the title of Germany’s most congested city last year, slips to fourth, and Antwerp moves up to third. Both Cologne (5.2 hours) and Antwerp (6.6) experienced significant increases in delays.

Brussels – Europe’s most congested city in 2012 and 2013 and second to London in 2014 – experienced a significant drop in delays in 2015, achieving 70 hours wasted in traffic, a decline of more than four hours from 2014 and moving the city to fifth in the ranking. Brussels recently made investments to strengthen key suburban rail services in and around the city to help ease gridlock.

Europe’s most congested metropolitan areas in 2015 (ranked by annual hours wasted):

 

Rank 2015

Rank 2014

Metro

2015 Total Hours Wasted

Change from 2014 in Hours

1

1

London Commute Zone

101

5.2

2

5

Stuttgart

73

8.5

3

4

Antwerp

71

6.6

4

3

Cologne

71

5.2

5

2

Brussels

70

-4.2

6

N/a

Moscow

57

N/a

7

6

Karlsruhe

54

-8.9

8

14

Munich

53

4.5

9

9

Utrecht

53

0.1

10

7

Milan

52

-5.0

11

11

Gr. Manchester

51

-0.4

12

8

Düsseldorf

50

-3.2

13

12

s-Gravenhage (The Hague)

48

-2.6

14

15

Rotterdam

46

-2.1

15

16

Paris

45

0.1

 

How Europe Compares to Cities Worldwide

At the global city level, London tops the list of gridlock-plagued cities, with 101 hours of delay, followed by Los Angeles (81 hours), Washington D.C. (75), San Francisco (75), Houston (74), New York (73), Stuttgart (73), Antwerp (71), Cologne (71) and Brussels (70). Drivers using the top 10 worst roads globally waste on average 110 hours a year, or more than 4.5 days, in gridlock. Of these, four are in Los Angeles, three in Moscow, followed by roads in London, Brussels and Munich.

Of the countries measured by the INRIX Traffic Scorecard, the U.S. leads with the highest annual hours wasted in traffic – an average of nearly 50 hours in 2015 – outranking Belgium (44 hours), Netherlands (39), Germany (38), Luxembourg (33), Switzerland (30), UK (30) and France (28).

 



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