Press Releases

GROWING ECONOMY DRIVES TRAFFIC CONGESTION UP IN OVER THREE QUARTERS OF UK CITIES

 

  • INRIX Traffic Scorecard Report reveals congestion increased in 77% of UK cities
  • UK climbs to 5th for worst traffic in Europe in 2014 with drivers wasting approximately 30 hours in gridlock
  • North Staffordshire and Greater Coventry saw the biggest increases in congestion
  • London was Europe’s most congested city in 2014, with drivers spending 96 hours in traffic
  • A 10-mile stretch of the A217 in London was the most congested road; costing drivers 139 hours

 

LONDON, UK – 24 August 2015: INRIX, a leading provider of real-time traffic information and connected driving services, has published its Traffic Scorecard Report revealing UK drivers wasted an average of 30 hours in congestion during 2014. The UK climbed one place to fifth in the list of Europe’s most congested countries, although UK motorists spent 21 fewer hours in traffic than those in Belgium, Europe’s most congested country, where drivers spent 51 hours stuck in gridlock in 2014.

 The UK economy grew by 2.8% last year, its highest rise since 2006 and faster than any other major developed country and double the European Union average of 1.4%[1]. Levels of unemployment also decreased in 2014 by 21% from 2013[2]. 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[3].

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[4]. 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.

 

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. Somerset 30 6
8 Leeds-Bradford 29 4
9 Coventry & Warwickshire 28 7
10 N. Staffordshire 26 7

 

“For the third year running, traffic in the UK is up,” said Bryan Mistele, President and CEO, 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 work hard to keep London’s traffic moving every day, through our state of the art technology, Traffic Control Centre and focus on tackling unnecessary roadworks. 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 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 (%)iI
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 2.8
6 8 Switzerland 25 29 4 2
7 4 France 29 28.5 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 -5 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 Tues 08:00 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 28.6
4 Newcastle upon Tyne A1/A1(M) Washington-Birtley Services Lobley Hill: Gateshead 5.68 PM Fri 17:00 27.6
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.

Whilst 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 20146 – Spain’s first full year growth since 2008. Unemployment in Barcelona dropped by 3% in 2014 to 20%[5], 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
Metropolitan area Hours wasted in
traffic 2014
Difference in comparison
to hours wasted in 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

####

 

About the INRIX Traffic Scorecard

The INRIX Traffic Scorecard measures the traffic congestion problem by going beyond traditional limitations of road sensors and statistical sampling techniques by analysing an historical archive of real-time data crowd-sourced from actual vehicles travelling on major metropolitan roadways.

INRIX analyses trillions of real-time data points from over a hundred sources including crowd-sourced data from a variety of commercial vehicles, including taxis, airport shuttles, service delivery vans, long haul trucks as well as consumer vehicles and mobile devices. Each data report from these GPS-equipped vehicles and devices includes the speed, location and heading of a particular vehicle at a reported date and time, without including planning time. In creating the INRIX Traffic Scorecard, INRIX analyses information for millions of kilometres of motorways and secondary roads in Europe during every hour of the day to generate the most comprehensive and timely congestion analysis to date, covering the largest metropolitan areas in 14 countries.

The same data used to generate the Scorecard also powers INRIX Traffic, a free smartphone app that helps drivers avoid frustrating delays stuck in traffic. The INRIX Traffic app helps drivers never be late with insights from the world’s largest traffic network into the fastest routes from home to work, recommended departure and travel times, traffic forecasts and personalised traffic alerts unique to driver’s routes. More information about INRIX Traffic can be found at http://inrixtraffic.com.

More details on traffic congestion in a particular country and how countries and cities compare to each other, along with an executive summary of the report’s key findings are now available at scorecard.inrix.com. The extensive data powering the INRIX Traffic Scorecard is immediately available under license for further analysis and review by government agencies and commercial organisations.

 

About INRIX

INRIX is one of the fastest growing big data technology companies in the world. The company leverages big data analytics to reduce the individual, economic and environmental toll of traffic congestion.  Through cutting-edge data intelligence and predictive traffic technologies, INRIX helps leading automakers, fleets, governments and news organizations make it easier for drivers to navigate their world.

Our vision is simple – to solve traffic, empower drivers, inform planning and enhance commerce. Whether through an in-car or smartphone navigation application, a local newscast or our INRIX Traffic app, our up-to-the-minute traffic information and other driver services help millions of drivers save time, fuel and frustration. INRIX delivers traffic and driving-related insight, as well as sophisticated analytical tools and services across six industries covering nearly five million miles (7.9 million km) of road in 42 countries. For more information visit us at INRIX.com or download our INRIX XD Traffic App for iOS and Android. For more information visit us at www.INRIX.com.

 

Media Contacts:

Hotwire PR on behalf of INRIX

Laura Brooks

laura.brooks@hotwirepr.com

0207 608 8363

Hannah Joyce

hannah.joyce@hotwirepr.com

0207 608 4623

 

[1]http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-32126975

[2]http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/lms/labour-market-statistics/february-2015/statistical-bulletin.html

[3]http://www.coventrytelegraph.net/news/coventry-news/coventrys-tollbar-island-worst-roadworks-7967655

[4]http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/dcp171778_406922.pdf

[5]  http://www.idescat.cat/pub/?id=aec&n=318&lang=en

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