UK congestion worst in Europe and set to cost £62bn


The United Kingdom is the worst country in Europe for traffic jams, and London the most congested city in the continent, according to major new research.

Based on fresh analysis by data company INRIX, the UK has jumped from being the fifth worst in Europe to the first.

One of many traffic jams across the country

Using its Roadway Analytics traffic analysis tool, INRIX also estimates the cumulative cost of jams across the UK will hit £61.8bn by 2025.

Of all cities analysed, London had the highest number of traffic hotspots (12,776) and the highest Impact Factor.

The impact of hotspots in the capital was 28 times more than the average city in the study, and more than the next four cities in the European ranking – Rome, Paris, Hamburg, Madrid – combined.

INRIX analysed more than 200,000 traffic jams and identify and rank 45,662 traffic hotspots in 19 European countries. This included 20,375 traffic hotspots in 21 UK cities.

The ranking was determined by an ‘Impact Factor’, which multiplied the average duration of a traffic jam with its average length and the number of times it occurred in September this year.

INRIX also calculated the cost of congestion across all traffic hotspots using the Department for Transport’s ‘value of time’, to estimate the price drivers are expected to pay over the next ten years in time sitting in traffic jams.

The UK’s top ten traffic hotspots are all on roads in and around London, Edinburgh and Glasgow, although the impact and cost of congestion in the English capital is 15 times higher than that of its Scottish counterpart, the second ranked city.

London also pays the highest price, with time wasted potentially costing drivers £42bn over the next decade.

Graham Cookson, chief economist at INRIX, said: ‘Only by identifying traffic hotspots and analysing their root causes can we effectively combat congestion, Some of the most effective traffic improvement measures have benefited from this approach, like TfL’s traffic signal optimisation work, which is reducing delays by 13% and could save drivers £65m a year.

‘The Government has taken a similar approach with its Autumn Statement pledge to spend £220m on reducing gridlock at key ‘pinch points’ on the UK’s strategic road network.’

INRIX said it evaluated the Smart Motorway/All Lane Running scheme at Junctions 5-7 on the M25, by comparing a year of data before roadworks began with a year of data after the project was completed, and found a 52 % reduction in jams. It said it expected a further rollout between Junctions 10-17 to improve congestion.

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