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UK drivers wasting approximately 30 hours in gridlock, says Inrix

Increase in traffic prompts gridlock warning

The UK climbed one place to fifth in the list of Europe’s most congested countries, with drivers wasting an average of 30 hours in congestion during 2014.

However, that was 21 hours less than those in Belgium – Europe’s most congested country – where drivers spent 51 hours stuck in gridlock in 2014, according to the Traffic Scorecard Report published Inrix.

The UK economy grew by 2.8% last year, which was its highest rise since 2006 and faster than any other major developed country and double the European Union average of 1.4%.

Levels of unemployment also decreased in 2014 by 21% from 2013.

These factors, which are driving up consumer spending as well as spurring roadwork and construction projects nationwide, had a big impact on traffic with an increase of private and commercial vehicles on the road and more people commuting to work by car.

Traffic congestion was up in 14 of the 18 UK metropolitan areas in 2014, compared to 9 in 18 in 2013.

The biggest increases in congestion were seen in North Staffordshire (+37%) and Greater Coventry (+33%) where drivers sat idle in traffic for 26 and 28 hours respectively.

Rising congestion levels in the Coventry area were the result of extensive, long-term roadwork schemes such as Tollbar Island.

Population growth and urbanisation are key drivers of congestion, and the UK’s population grew by 491,100 last year, reaching a record high. London’s population also experienced high growth in 2014, increasing by 122,100 people. This contributed to drivers in the capital spending 96 hours on average stuck in traffic, 14 hours more than in 2013, resulting in London becoming Europe’s most congested city.

“For the third year running, traffic in the UK is up,” said Bryan Mistele, president and CEO of Inrix.

“The strong growth of the UK economy and rise in urban populations have resulted in an increase in the demand for road travel, significantly driving levels of congestion up across the country.”

Transport for London’s chief operating officer for surface transport Garrett Emmerson said: “London’s continued success has made it one of the world’s most popular cities in which to live, work and visit, which also makes it one of the busiest.

“We are seeing unprecedented increases in population and this, combined with strong economic growth and the consequent increase in building and construction, creates more traffic. To tackle this, we need continued, sustained investment to boost capacity and modernise London’s road network.

“That’s why we invest every penny of our income in improving the capital's transport network, including an unprecedented £4 billion pounds over the next few years to transform junctions, bridges, tunnels, cycling lanes and pedestrian areas.”

UK’s ten most congested metropolitan areas in 2014 (ranked by annual hours wasted):

Rank

UK Metropolitan Area

Hours Wasted in 2014

Change from 2013 (in hours)

1

London commute zone

96

14

2

Gr. Manchester

52

6

3

Merseyside

37

-1

4

Gr. Belfast

37

6

5

Gr. Birmingham

37

3

6

S. Nottinghamshire

35

-4

7

Avon & N. Staffordshire

30

6

8

Leeds-Bradford

29

4

9

Coventry & Warwickshire

28

7

10

N. Staffordshire

26

7

 

UK vs Europe: How we measure up

Of the 13 European countries analysed in the report, more than half (53%) experienced a rise in levels of congestion in 2014 compared to 2013, reflective of steady economic growth.

Nations struggling with high unemployment and low or negative economic growth typically recorded lower levels of traffic congestion compared to 2013.

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

 

Europe country rank 2014

Europe country rank 2013

Country

Country avg. hours wasted annually: 2013

Country avg. hours wasted annually: 2014

Difference between country avg. hours wasted annually from 2014 - 2013

Change in GDP 2014 (%)1

1

1

Belgium

58

51

-8

1.1

2

2

Netherlands

45

41

-4

0.9

3

3

Germany

35

39

4

1.6

4

5

Luxembourg

32

34

3

2.3

5

6

United Kingdom

30

30

0

2.6

6

8

Switzerland

25

29

4

2.0

7

4

France

29

29

0

0.2

8

9

Austria

31

25

-6

0.3

9

10

Ireland

21

24

4

4.8

10

7

Italy

25

20

-6

-0.4

11

11

Spain

17

17

0

1.4

12

13

Portugal

6

6

0

0.9

13

12

Hungary

10

5

-4

0.9

 

Britain’s most congested roads

The 2014 Traffic Scorecard Report also identified the worst roads for traffic in the UK and the worst times to travel.

London proved to have the busiest roads with mid-week, rush-hour traffic causing drivers to sit in traffic for up to 139 hours last year. Outside of the capital, a 5-mile stretch of the A8 in Edinburgh was the most congested road with drivers spending up to 49 hours in gridlock.

The UK’s most congested roads in 2014 (ranked by annual hours wasted):

 

Rank

Area

Road(s)

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

138.6

2

London

A215

Albany Road: Camberwell

Shirley Road: Croydon

9.55

PM

Fri

18:00

119.72

3

London

A4

 

Henlys Roundabout: Hounslow

Holborn Circus

14.68

AM

Weds 08:00

113.44

4

London

A4

Aldwych

Henlys Roundabout: Hounslow

14.18

PM

Weds 18:00

108

5

London

A23

Thornton Heath

Westminster Bridge

8.62

AM

Tues08:00

95.96

 

The UK’s most congested roads outside London in 2014 (ranked by annual hours wasted):

 

Rank

Area

Road(s)

From

To

Distance (miles)

Worst Peak Period

Worst Day/Hour

Total Delay per Year (hours)

1

Edinburgh

A8

Princes Street: Edinburgh

Maybury Road: Edinburgh

5.15

PM

Tues 17:00

49.36

2

Manchester

A580

Boothstown: Worsley

Swinton Park Manchester

7.21

AM

Tues 08:00

41.12

3

Manchester

A5103

M60 J5: Northenden

Mancunian Way

4.55

AM

Mon 08:00

28.60

4

Newcastle upon Tyne

A1/A1(M)

Washington-Birtley Services

Lobley Hill: Gateshead

5.68

PM

Fri 17:00

27.60

5

Chester

A51

Turning for Great Barrow: Stamford Bridge

The Bars: Chester City Centre

4.57

PM

Fri 17:00

26.44

 

The traffic situation in Europe’s cities

The INRIX Traffic Scorecard also analysed traffic in major metropolitan areas across Europe. Of the 94 European cities analysed in the report, nearly half (48%) experienced an increase in traffic compared to 2013.

While London topped the list of the 25 most congested European cities, Barcelona saw the biggest year-on-year increase in congestion, rising by 66%.

Drivers in Barcelona experienced an additional 10 hours in traffic compared to 2013, rising from 15 hours wasted in traffic in 2013 to 25 in 2014.

This increase can be attributed to a growing economy with GDP growth figures in Spain at 1.4% in 2014 – Spain’s first full year growth since 2008.

Unemployment in Barcelona dropped by 3% in 2014 to 20%, driving up consumer spending and an increased demand for road travel, with more commuters travelling to work by car.

Europe’s most congested cities in 2014 (ranked by annual hours wasted):

 

2014 Rank

2013 Rank

Metro

Hours wasted in traffic 2014

Annual change in hours from 2013

1

2

London commute zone

96

14

2

1

Brussels

74

-9

3

6

Cologne

65

9

4

3

Antwerp

64

-14

5

5

Stuttgart

64

4

6

10

Karlsruhe

63

10

7

7

Milan

57

1

8

13

Düsseldorf

53

4

9

15

Utrecht

53

5

10

9

Ghent

52

-2

11

16

Gr. Manchester

52

6

12

12

S Gravenhage

51

2

13

14

Hamburg

48

0

14

17

Munich

48

4

15

4

Rotterdam

48

-15

16

8

Paris

45

-10

17

26

Bonn

42

4

18

22

Ruhrgebiet

42

2

19

11

Amsterdam

41

-9

20

18

Lyon

40

-4

21

37

Nuremburg

38

6

22

24

Merseyside

37

-2

23

41

Freiburg im Breisgau

37

5

24

38

Frankfurt am Main

37

5

25

43

Gr. Belfast

37

6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



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