Middle of the road: UK cities not great for drivers


British cities have failed to break into the top 10 in a listing of the best – and worst – cities in the world for driving.

Calgary, Canada, takes the prize for the best city in the world for driving due to low congestion, fatalities and affordability; Mumbai, India is the worst, scoring low in these factors.

Although 10 cities in the UK were included among 100 cities in the index, the highest placed, Birmingham, was ranked in 27th place, ‘due to low congestion, high road quality and excellent petrol affordability’.


London was the lowest ranked UK city, at 77th worldwide, and has the highest congestion (pictured) in the country. Of the 10 UK cities in the index, Glasgow has the lowest congestion.

Although UK consumers frequently complain about the price of petrol, which the study puts at £1.33 per litre (£1.26 per litre, according to the RAC), Oslo, Norway, has the most expensive petrol at £1.59 per litre. Lagos, Nigeria, has the cheapest at 34c per litre.

Car parts retailer Mister Auto, which compiled the index, described it as ‘a comprehensive study that reveals the cities which are successfully utilising infrastructure and legislation to improve driving conditions for their citizens’.

Managing director Sébastien Rohart said: ‘We included air quality in this study because we wanted to see which cities around the world are tackling the problem of air pollution, while making it safe for their citizens to get from A to B without having to risk their health doing so.’

How the 10 UK cities rank overall:

27 Birmingham

30 Glasgow

32 Liverpool

37 Leeds

41 Belfast

44 Manchester

50 Bristol

64 Brighton

68 Edinburgh

77 London

How the study was conducted

To begin the study, data was collected for hundreds of cities worldwide, and then narrowed down to a shortlist of 100 cities. Each of these provided reliable and extensive data which also allowed for a wide range of scores, from excellent to underperforming, with regards to their achievement in each factor.

This ensured a range of results, allowing cities to stand out for their individual merits in comparison to other locations. It was then decided to divide the parameters of the study into three categories that are most important to making a city a good location to drive: infrastructure, safety and costs.

To determine a city’s infrastructure, a number of factors were examined, such as the number of cars per capita, traffic congestion, road and public transport quality, among others. Air quality levels were also investigated in order to determine the city's commitment to providing fresh air and good visibility for its drivers and citizens alike.

Next, the safety of each location was analysed by the car accident fatality rate as well as the results of a survey focusing on incidents of road rage, in order to paint a picture of the aggressiveness and general driving culture brought to the city by its motorists.

Finally, the costs associated with driving in each city were evaluated, including not only the price of combustibles and annual road tax paid in each location, but also the purchase parity of each country to determine how affordable driving was for its inhabitants.

The final index combines a total of 15 factors.


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