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Stuttgart Sees the Highest Rise in Traffic Congestion in Europe, Overtakes Cologne as Germany’s Most Congested City

  • INRIX Traffic Scorecard reveals congestion in Stuttgart increased by 14% in 2015, the highest increase in Europe, propelling it to second in the list of the region’s most gridlocked cities
  • Stuttgart overtakes Cologne as Germany’s most congested city, with drivers stuck in gridlock for 73 hours last year, an increase of 8.5 hours from 2014
  • Four German cities rank in the top 10 most congested cities in Europe
  • Germany ranks as the third most congested country in Europe for the third year running, with drivers spending 38 hours in traffic in 2015
  • The “Mittlere Ring” (B2R), the ring road around Munich, remains the most congested road in Germany, with drivers stuck in gridlock for 93 hours on average

MUNICH, Germany – 16 March 2016: INRIX, a global leader for connected car technology and transportation analytics, has published its 2015 Traffic Scorecard, a benchmark for governments and cities in Europe and the U.S. to measure progress in improving urban mobility.

The report revealed that of the 96 European cities analysed, Stuttgart experienced the highest increase in traffic congestion, rising by 14%. This resulted in drivers in Stuttgart being stuck in traffic for 73 hours on average last year, an increase of 8.5 hours from 2014, propelling it from fifth to second in the list of Europe’s most congested cities. This also meant that Stuttgart overtook Cologne as Germany’s most gridlocked city in 2015. Cologne topped this list in 2014, with Stuttgart second.

Stuttgart’s increase in traffic levels can be explained in part by declining fuel prices[1], a record number of newly registered vehicles in the city[2], continued population growth[3], and its status as a significant employment and business hub, with companies such as Daimler AG, Porsche AG and Bosch all based in the Stuttgart metro area. Tourism also impacts traffic levels, and the Baden-Württemberg region is one of Germany’s most popular holiday destinations[4].

The German economy, as measured by GDP, continues to grow, increasing by 1.7% in 2015[5], its highest level since 2013. Germany’s unemployment rate also fell last year to 4.4%[6], the lowest level in 35 years. These factors are driving up consumer spending[7]and continuing to spur a large number of construction projects nationwide, and together with lower fuel prices are having a negative impact on congestion.

“Stuttgart is the victim of its own success, with a robust jobs market and a growing economy leading to more car commuters, more investment and consequently more traffic,” said Bryan Mistele, President & CEO, INRIX. “The continued growth of the German economy has led to an increase in consumer spending, and along with a decrease in fuel costs, these have resulted in high demand for road travel, which has significantly increased congestion in Stuttgart and other cities across the country.”

Country-wide, German drivers wasted on average 38 hours in congestion in 2015, down one hour from 2014. Four German cities (Stuttgart, Cologne, Karlsruhe, Dusseldorf) rank in the top 10 most congested in Europe, keeping Germany in the top three most congested countries for the third year. London remains Europe’s gridlock capital, breaking the 100 hours wasted-threshold in the process, and Belgium remains Europe’s most congested country, with drivers wasting an average of 44 hours in traffic in 2015.

Traffic congestion increased in 50% of, or 11 of the 22, German metropolitan areas in 2015. The biggest increases were in Stuttgart (+14%) and Munich (+10%), where drivers sat idle in traffic for an additional 4.5 hours in 2015. Berlin (+9%) and Cologne (+9%) also saw sharp rises in gridlock last year. However, Karlsruhe, Germany’s third most congested city for three years running, saw a decline in congestion of 14% in 2015. Frankfurt (-13.5%) and Ruhrgebiet (-17%) also experienced a decline in traffic levels.

“While infrastructure improvements on autobahns are beginning to bear fruit, congestion continues to rise in Germany’s major metropolitan areas,” said Prof. Dr. Michael Schreckenberg, traffic expert at Universität Duisburg Essen. “This is particularly relevant in cities that can’t increase road capacity, and in car-dominated metros like Stuttgart where traffic growth is a result of a strong jobs market, low fuel prices and more people commuting to work by car. It is pushing the infrastructure to its natural limits.”

Germany’s top 10 most congested metropolitan areas in 2015 (ranked by annual hours wasted):

 2015 Rank Metro Hours Wasted in 2015 Change from 2014 (in hours)
1 Stuttgart 73 +8.5
2 Cologne 71 +5.2
3 Karlsruhe 54 -8.9
4 Munich 53 +4.5
5 Düsseldorf 50 -3.2
6 Hamburg 45 -3.1
7 Nuremberg 39 +0.2
8 Bonn 38 -3.9
9 Saarbrücken 35 -0.1
10 Ruhr Valley 35 -6.9

 

Germany’s Most Congested Roads
INRIX also identified the most congested roads in Germany, as well as the worst times to travel. Roads in Stuttgart, Cologne, Wuppertal and the Ruhr Valley each claimed a position within the top 10. However, Germany’s worst road was Munich’s MittlererRing, the ring road around the city, delaying motorists by 93 hours on average in 2015 – 43 hours more than the next worst road, the A1 from Leverkusener Brücke to Leverkusen, costing drivers 50 hours in gridlock in 2015.

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

Rank Area Road From To Distance (km) Worst Peak Period Worst Day/Hour Total Delay Per Year (Hours)
1 Munich B2R Hansastraße Passauerstraße 4.92 PM Thurs 18:00 93,04
2 Cologne A1 Leverkusener Brücke Leverkusen 14.34 AM Mon 08:00 50,28
3 Ruhrgebiet A46 Übergang A46/B326 Sonnborner Kreuz 15.72 PM Mon 07:00 34,28
4 Wuppertal A46 Wuppertal-Elberfeld Höfgen 17.28 PM Weds 17:00 33,76
5 Stuttgart B27 Olgaeck Dreieck Stuttgart-

Zuffenhausen

9.40 AM Weds 08:00 33
6 Munich B2R Donnersbergerbrücke Schlüssel-bergstraße 14.31 PM Weds 17:00 31,92
7 Stuttgart B10 Pragtunnel Stuttgart-Ost 5.33 PM Fri 15:00 30,88
8 Munich B2R Innsbrucker-Ring-Tunnel Ifflandstraße 5.12 AM Thurs 08:00 27,72
9 Munich B2R Lerchenauer Straße Ifflandstraße 7.68 PM Weds 17:00 26,84
10 Ruhrgebiet B224 Essen/

Gladbeck

Essen-Karnap 8.16 AM Weds 08:00 26,84

 

Germany 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[8], which remains below the pre-crisis peak of 2008. Belgium topped the list with drivers spending 44 hours on average in gridlock, followed by the Netherlands (39 hours), Germany (38) and Luxemburg (34), with Switzerland moving up from sixth to round out the top five in 2015.

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
London topped the list of Europe’s most gridlocked cities, with drivers wasting an average of 101 hours, or more than four days, in gridlock. 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.

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).

– ENDS –

Methodology
Findings in the INRIX Traffic Scorecard for Europe are drawn from traffic speed data collected from more than a million kilometers of urban streets and highways in 13 European countries and 96 cities, between January and December 2015. To view the global report, please visit inrix.com/scorecard.

[1]http://www.bild.de/geld/wirtschaft/oelpreis/halb-europa-tankt-teurer-als-wir-44217182.bild.html

[2]http://www.kfz-innung-stuttgart.de/presse/pkw-zulassungen-region-stuttgart/

[3]http://www.bib-demografie.de/SharedDocs/Meldungen/EN/TopThema/2015_01_19_migration_german_cities.html

[4]https://www.germany.travel/media/pdf/dzt_marktforschung/GNTB_Incoming-Tourism-Germany-2015.pdf

[5]http://www.tradingeconomics.com/germany/gdp-growth

[6]http://www.tradingeconomics.com/germany/unemployment-rate

[7]http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/cc7c0aca-baa4-11e5-b151-8e15c9a029fb.html#axzz42VE2TnuU

[8]http://www.economist.com/blogs/graphicdetail/2016/02/taking-europe-s-pulse

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