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INRIX Reveals Congestion At The UK’s Worst Traffic Hotspots To Cost Drivers £62 Billion Over The Next Decade


  • INRIX Roadway Analytics, a new traffic analysis tool, identifies and ranks the impact of more than 45,000 traffic hotspots1 in 123 cities2 in 19 countries across Europe
  • In the UK, the worst traffic hotspots in 21 cities were identified and the cost to drivers of time wasted in congestion could amount to £61.8 billion over the next ten years3
  • London had more traffic hotspots than any other city analysed, and time wasted in gridlock at these locations could cost drivers in the capital £42 billion by 2025
  • The UK’s worst traffic hotspot was on the M25 between junctions 15 (M4) and 16 (M40). Outside of the capital the worst traffic hotspot was on the A720 Edinburgh Bypass
  • The research shows that traffic signal optimisation and smart motorways are proving successful at reducing traffic congestion in London and on the M25


London – November 30, 2016 – INRIX today published research on Europe’s worst traffic hotspots. Using INRIX Roadway Analytics, a new traffic analysis tool and the first of its kind to be available in Europe, INRIX analysed more than 200,000 traffic jams to identify and rank 45,662 traffic hotspots in 123 major cities in 19 European countries. INRIX also calculated the cost of congestion across all traffic hotspots to identify the price drivers in Europe are estimated to pay over the next ten years due to time wasted sitting in gridlock.

In the UK, INRIX Roadway Analytics identified and ranked 20,375 traffic hotspots in 21 cities. The ranking was determined by an ‘Impact Factor’4, which multiplied the average duration of a traffic jam with its average length and the number of times it occurred in September 20165. The cost to drivers due to time wasted in traffic at these hotspots, calculated using the DfT’s ‘value of time’, amounts to £61.8 billion in the UK by 2025 if congestion levels are not reduced.

London had more traffic hotspots (12,776) and also the highest Impact Factor compared to all cities analysed. The impact of hotspots in the capital was 28 times more than the average city included in the study, and more than the following four cities combined in the European ranking (Rome, Paris, Hamburg, Madrid). This also means London pays the highest price with time wasted in congestion potentially costing drivers in the capital £42 billion over the next decade.

“Only by identifying traffic hotspots and analysing their root causes can we effectively combat congestion,” said Graham Cookson, Chief Economist, INRIX. “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 percent and could save drivers £65m a year6. 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.”

In the UK, the impact of all traffic hotspots in London, and the potential cost to drivers, is 15 times higher than that of the second ranked city, Edinburgh. Glasgow and Birmingham follow, with Manchester, Bristol, Leeds, Cardiff, Bradford and Belfast rounding out the top ten.


Table 1: INRIX Roadway Analytics Impact Factor Ranking – UK Cities


Rank UK City (population over 250k) No. of Traffic Hotspots Impact Factor


2025 Economic Cost of Congestion Worst Traffic Hotspot
1 London 12,776 7,782,677 £42bn M25 N between J15 (M4) and J16 (M40)
2 Edinburgh 455 512,834 £2.8bn A720 W (Edinburgh Bypass) at Dreghorn Barracks
3 Glasgow 357 418,560 £2.3bn A8 E (Glasgow & Edinburgh Road) at M8
4 Birmingham 872 370,303 £2.0bn A38 N (M) junction with M6 (J6)
5 Manchester 768 360,021 £1.9bn M60 N at J1 for A6 (Stockport)
6 Bristol 619 305,276 £1.6bn M5 S at J20 (Clevedon)
7 Leeds 712 273,684 £1.5bn M62 W (J26) junction with M606 (J1)
8 Cardiff 392 208,618 £1.1bn A48 W (Eastern Avenue) at Riverside Park
9 Bradford 596 201,901 £1.1bn A650 W (Bradford Road) at A6038 (Otley Rd)
10 Belfast 446 147,864 £797m A12 E (York Link) at junction with M2 and M3
11 Sheffield 360 142,006 £766m A61 N (London Road) at junction with A621
12 Nottingham 342 103,302 £557m A52 E at Queen’s Medical Centre
13 Stoke-on-Trent 207 98,684 £532m A50 W at roundabout with A500 (Stoke City Stadium)
14 Coventry 178 94,967 £512m M6 N between J3 and Corley Services
15 Leicester 260 88,302 £476m A46 N (Leicester Bypass) at roundabout with A607
16 Southampton 209 83,606 £451m M27 W at J5 (Southampton Airport)
17 Hull 183 73,373 £396m A63 E at Kingston Retail Park
18 Newcastle 111 71,146 £384m A1 S at roundabout with A696 and A167
19 Derby 112 54,361 £293m A52 W before roundabout Pentagon Island
20 Liverpool 236 41,087 £222m M62 /A5080 W (J4) at A5058 Broad Green
21 Wolverhampton 184 33,844 £182m A4039 W at junction with A449
      Total Cost: £61.8bn  


The UK’s top ten traffic hotspots all featured on roads in and around London, Edinburgh and Glasgow. The research notes that congestion at the worst hotspots on the western portion of the M25 will likely be improved by the planned Smart Motorway All Lane Running programme that will be implemented within the next 5 years and covers 19 miles between Junctions 10-17.

INRIX Roadway Analytics evaluated the Smart Motorway All Lane Running implementation at Junctions 5-7 on the M25, and found a 52 percent reduction in traffic jams by comparing a year of data before roadworks began with a year of data after the new smart motorway was complete. There were 165 traffic jams a month on average after completion compared to 343 beforehand.


Table 2: INRIX Roadway Analytics Top 10 Traffic Hotspots in the UK


Rank UK City (population over 250k) Worst Traffic Hotspot Ave. Duration (min) Ave. Length (miles) Total no. of Occurrences 2025 Economic Cost of Congestion
1 London M25 N between J15 (M4) and J16 (M40) 20 5.88 690 £705m
2 London M25 N between J16 (M40) and J17 (Rickmansworth) 30 4.83 456 £575m
3 London M25 S between J21 (M1) and J21A (A405) 273 13.78 13 £425m
4 Edinburgh A720 W (Edinburgh Bypass) at Dreghorn Barracks 86 5.40 101 £408m
5 Edinburgh A720 E (Edinburgh Bypass) between A702 and A701 80 2.23 216 £334m
6 Glasgow A8 E (Glasgow & Edinburgh Road) at junction with M8 96 4.95 76 £314m
7 London A406 E (North Circular) at Powys Lane (B106) 197 1.62 92 £255m
8 London A406 W (North Circular) at Station Road (A109) 84 2.59 129 £244m
9 Edinburgh A720 W (Edinburgh Bypass) between A702 and A701 76 4.77 76 £239m
10 Edinburgh A720 W (Edinburgh Bypass) at Dreghorn Junction 51 4.54 114 £229m


How the UK Compares with Europe

In Europe, the impact of traffic hotspots in London is almost five times that of Rome, the second ranked city. This is due in part to London having a population almost four times the size of Rome and a population density almost three times the size. However, all cities in the top ten have a proportionally high Impact Factor, and the potential cost to drivers by 2025 range from £3.3 billion in Milan, to £5.5 billion in Madrid, to £8 billion in Paris and £8.4 billion in Rome.


Table 3: INRIX Roadway Analytics Impact Factor Ranking – Europe Cities


Rank European City (population over 250k) Country Number of Traffic Hotspots Impact Factor


2025 Economic Cost of Congestion
1 London UK 12,776 7,782,677 £42bn
2 Rome Italy 1,684 1,566,115 £8.4bn
3 Paris France 703 1,479,535 £8.0bn
4 Hamburg Germany 1,305 1,264,783 £6.8bn
5 Madrid Spain 837 1,017,770 £5.5bn
6 Antwerp Belgium 459 970,351 £5.2bn
7 Munich Germany 841 917,570 £4.9bn
8 Stuttgart Germany 539 850,815 £4.6bn
9 Cologne Germany 740 816,260 £4.4bn
10 Milan Italy 1,053 618,657 £3.3bn


Although London is at the top of the European city ranking, the capital’s worst hotspot is third in the list of the top ten worst in Europe. The A7 in Hamburg has Europe’s worst traffic hotspot, followed by the A8 in Stuttgart – 40 percent of the top ten traffic hotspots are in Germany. Roads in Cologne, Antwerp, Luxembourg City, Paris and Karlsruhe also feature in the top ten.


Table 4: INRIX Roadway Analytics Top 10 Traffic Hotspots in Europe


Rank European City (population over 250k) Country Worst Traffic Hotspot 2025 Economic Cost of Congestion
1 Hamburg Germany A7 N at J29 HH-Othmarschen £1.1bn
2 Stuttgart Germany A8 W at J48 (B295) Leonberg-West £1.1bn
3 Antwerp Belgium R1 / E19 E and E34 E at J3 (Borgerhout) £985m
4 London UK M25 N between J15 (M4) and J16 (M40) £705m
5 London UK M25 N between J16 (M40) and J17 (Rickmansworth) £575m
6 Cologne Germany A3 N at J25 (Koln-Mulheim) £549m
7 Antwerp Belgium R1 (E34) E after J3 (Borgerhout) £545m
8 Luxembourg Luxembourg A6 W before J4 (Strassen) £545m
9 Paris France A1 S N at junction with Boulevard Périphérique £538m
10 Karlsruhe Germany A5 S at J43 (Karlsruhe Nord) £508m


The table below provides the number of cities in each country with a population of 250,0002 or more that were analysed as part of the study. The cost to drivers in Europe of time wasted in congestion across all 45,662 traffic hotspots identified could amount to £183.2 billion by 2025.


Table 5: INRIX Roadway Analytics – Total Countries and Cities Analysed


Country No. of Cities (population over 250k) No. of Traffic Hotspots Impact Factor


2025 Economic Cost of Congestion
UK 21 20,375 11,466,416 £61.8bn
Germany 27 8,517 7,777,834 £41.9bn
Italy 12 5,069 3,540,815 £19.1bn
France 9 1,844 2,753,484 £14.9bn
Spain 16 2,335 1,950,810 £10.5bn
Belgium 3 925 1,457,345 £7.9bn
Netherlands 4 416 639,416 £3.5bn
Czech Republic 3 484 634,545 £3.4bn
Hungary 1 1,284 537,595 £2.9bn
Norway 2 432 519,331 £2.8bn
Sweden 3 461 433,584 £2.3bn
Austria 2 628 368,369 £2.0bn
Luxembourg 1 167 356,663 £1.9bn
Switzerland 1 214 356,658 £1.9bn
Portugal 1 311 307,512 £1.7bn
Poland 12 1,072 298,897 £1.6bn
Slovakia 1 306 285,362 £1.5bn
Denmark 2 449 164,231 £886
Finland 2 373 126,293 £681
Total (19) 123 45,662 33,975,160 £183.2 billion


To access the full research report, please visit:


INRIX Roadway Analytics

INRIX Roadway Analytics is the first traffic insight tool available in Europe that provides road authorities with quick and easy access to in-depth roadway analysis and visualisations.

Built on INRIX Traffic, which covers 1.4 million miles of road in 24 countries across Europe and available to users as a browser-based application, INRIX Roadway Analytics enables the efficient planning, monitoring and assessment of road performance.

The service is designed to help road authorities, transport agencies, city planners and consultancies to reduce cost of daily operations, pinpoint areas that benefit most from road improvements and more accurately measure and report the impact of their investments.

Click here to see a data visualisation of INRIX Roadway Analytics in action.

For details and to sign-up for the INRIX Roadway Analytics webinar please click here.



Notes to Editors

How is this study different from the annual INRIX Traffic Scorecard?

The annual INRIX Traffic Scorecard measures the total impact of congestion in terms of annual hours wasted for the typical car commuter in cities across Europe. It uses a different methodology and focuses specifically on peak (rush) hours and the busiest roads. It also adopts the statistical definition of a Larger Urban Zone (LUZ) commuter area.

INRIX Roadway Analytics has allowed INRIX to identify and cost individual ‘traffic hotspots’ that cause congestion to all drivers. This study does not focus on commuting roads or commuting times or LUZs. It looks at all roads within a ‘city’ for every hour of the study period and identifies the hotspots that are causing the worst congestion. INRIX also calculated the economic impact of time wasted in congestion at these traffic hotspots.


1 A key feature of INRIX Roadway Analytics is the Traffic Hotspot (Bottleneck) tool. Traffic Hotspots are locations where congestion or traffic jams occur, defined as observed speeds dropping below 65% of reference (uncongested) speed for at least 2 minutes.

2 Of the 19 countries featured in the study, all cities with more than an estimated 250,000 inhabitants in 2016 were included in the analysis. The study calls these ‘cities’ as there is no universally agreed definition of ‘city’.

3 The annual amount of time wasted at each traffic hotspot is estimated by assuming: the average traffic hotspot had 1.5 lanes of traffic; that 100 vehicles take up 1 kilometre of road space; and that each vehicle had an average of 1.2 occupants. Multiplying these numbers by the hotspot’s Impact Factor produces an estimate of the amount of time wasted at each hotspot in September 2016. An annual cost of this time can be made by multiplying the time wasted by 12 months and then monetised (i.e. converted into economic values) by multiplying it by the ‘value of time’ used by the UK Department of Transport. These costs are assumed to accrue for 10 years but future costs are discounted by the social discount rate of 3.5% per annum, because flows that we pay or receive in the future are worth less to us in today’s money.

4 The Traffic Hotspot tool in INRIX Roadway Analytics calculates the average length of all traffic jams at a hotspot, the average duration that they lasted and the number of jams that occurred at the hotspot during the study period. Multiplying these three statistics together produces the ‘Impact Factor’ – a measure of the scale or impact of each hotspot. This Impact Factor is used to rank traffic hotspots.

5 September 2016 was the latest full month of data available when the research was carried out by INRIX in October 2016. September is an average month as schools are in session and people are back at work across Europe.

6 In 2009, a microsimulation of the SCOOT (Split Cycle Offset Optimisation Technique) traffic light optimisation platform predicted an average delay reduction of 13% and an overall user benefit of £108,000 per junction per annum (in 2016 prices).  It is being rolled out across 600 junctions with a predicted user benefit of £64.8 million.


Research Methodology

The Impact Factors produced by the INRIX Roadway Analytics tool were converted into estimates of hours wasted before estimating the economic cost using standard UK Department for Transport values of time. These were projected out 10 years and then discounted to generate the net present value of these savings. The results were tested by a sensitivity analysis. Further details on these steps are included in Notes to Editors, and the complete methodology, assumptions and sensitivity analysis are included in the full report.



INRIX is the global leader in connected car services and transportation analytics, a new approach that leverages big data and the cloud to help manage urban mobility. By aggregating a variety of sources and applying intelligence, INRIX delivers comprehensive data and solutions to help move people, cities and businesses forward. Our partners are automakers, governments, mobile operators, developers, advertisers, as well as enterprises large and small.


Media Contacts

INRIX Europe

Matt Simmons

+44 (0) 20 7012 3509

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