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Traffic Congestion in Europe: INRIX U.K. Traffic Scorecard Provides Revealing Look at Traffic Congestion in Cities Across the Country

INRIX®, the leading provider of traffic information, released the INRIX U.K. Traffic Scorecard, the most comprehensive country-wide perspective and city-by-city analysis on traffic congestion.

U.K. drivers spend more time in traffic compared to drivers in Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. London ranks second after Paris as the most traffic clogged city among the 6 countries analyzed. The fallout from heavy traffic congestion hits the U.K. economy hard on several different levels. With many drivers paying over 117.1p at petrol stations and roads clogged with traffic congestion on average 35 hours a week across the country’s 25 worst bottlenecks, traffic continues to have a major impact on consumers, the U.K. economy and the environment.

The scorecard found that the worst place and time to be on U.K. roads is in Manchester on Fridays from 17:00- 18:00 where it takes on average 56 percent longer than the same journey would take in uncongested conditions. Overall, U.K. drivers incurred a Journey or Travel Time Tax1 (T3) of 22 percent meaning that a random journey along the U.K.’s major motorways during peak weekday driving hours takes an average 22 percent longer than the same journey in uncongested conditions.

By analyzing traffic on major motorways in the country’s 25 largest metropolitan areas, the Scorecard provides a comprehensive snapshot into the intractable issues of urban traffic congestion. According to the report, the Top 10 Most Congested Cities in the U.K.2 span all regions:

1. London: Drivers waste 54 hours per year in traffic, Worst Hour = Friday from 17:00-18:00
2. Manchester: Drivers waste 72 hours per year in traffic, Worst Hour = Friday from 17:00-18:00
3. Belfast: Drivers waste 62 hours per year in traffic, Worst Hour = Monday from 8:00-9:00 AM
4. Newcastle upon Tyne: Drivers waste 62 hours per year in traffic, Worst Hour = Wednesday 8:00-9:00 AM
5. Glasgow: Drivers waste 48 hours per year in traffic, Worst Hour = Tuesday 8:00-9:00 AM
6. Birmingham: Drivers waste 53 hours per year in traffic, Worst Hour = Monday 8:00-9:00 AM
7. Leeds-Bradford: Drivers waste 40 hours per year in traffic, Worst Hour = Monday 8:00-9:00 AM
8. Aberdeen: Drivers waste 56 hours per year in traffic, Worst Hour = Tuesday 8:00-9:00 AM
9. Liverpool: Drivers waste 58 hours per year in traffic, Worst Hour = Monday 8:00-9:00 AM
10. Edinburgh: Drivers waste 49 hours per year in traffic, Worst Hour = Wednesday 8:00-9:00 AM

“Our business is built on knowing what’s going on with traffic day in and day out in 20 countries,” said Hans Puvogel, GM of INRIX Europe. “The Scorecard, and the data powering the report, will contribute enormously to a better understanding of traffic congestion on U.K. roads helping governments and businesses free people and commerce from gridlock.”

The U.K. Traffic Patterns & Worst Bottlenecks
The INRIX U.K. Scorecard takes a micro look at traffic problems all across the country – zooming in on the total hours spent in traffic, worst day of the week for commuting and average speeds for the top 25 cities in the U.K., along with hundreds of other details including the identification of the worst traffic bottlenecks the country’s drivers crawl through every day. Unique patterns evolving out of U.K. traffic congestion include:

• Worst Traffic Day: Wednesday
• Worst Week Day Morning: Monday
• Worst Commuting Hour: Monday 8-9 AM
• Worst Evening Commute: Friday afternoon
• Best Week Day for Traffic: Friday
• Best Week Day Morning: Friday morning
• Best Week Day Commuting Hour: Friday 6-7 AM
• Best Week Day Afternoon: Monday

In analyzing and ranking the worst traffic bottlenecks across the country, London, Manchester, Newcastle and Glasglow dominate the rankings in commuting nightmares. However, the worst traffic bottleneck in the U.K. is a 1.24 mile stretch of the M5 heading toward Birmingham up to Junction 8 at the M6, which was congested 63 hours a week in 2009/10, with an average speed below 15 mph when congested. If you happen to be driving on the M5 into town on a Friday from 17:00 to 18:00 you could conceivably ride your bike faster than your car can take you to work, with an average speed of only 8 mph during congested periods.

According to the report, the Top 10 Worst U.K. Traffic Bottlenecks are:
1. Birmingham: The M5 heading toward Birmingham at the M6
2. London: The Blackwall Tunnel Approach at Blackwall Lane
3. London: Canterbury Way heading toward the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge at the M25
4. Newcastle upon Tyne: The A19 at the Tyne Tunnel North Approach
5. London: Canterbury Way heading toward Purfleet at the M25
6. London: The M25 headed toward Rickmansworth at the J19
7. Glasgow: The M8 heading toward Kingston Bridge at the J22
8. London: The M25 heading toward Dartford at the J1B
9. Glasgow: The M8 heading toward Kingston Bridge at the J20
10. Glasgow: The M8 heading toward Seaward at the J21

About the INRIX U.K. Traffic Scorecard
The INRIX U.K. Traffic Scorecard uniquely measures the country’s traffic congestion problem by going beyond the traditional limitations of road sensors and statistical sampling techniques to evaluate real-time traffic on almost every major metropolitan roadway in the U.K. It leverages INRIX’s Smart Driver Network, the first truly national traffic data collection network which uses a revolutionary approach to collecting traffic information. The network “crowd-sources” anonymous speed data from more than 3 million vehicles traveling the roads everyday including airport shuttles, service delivery vans, lorries 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 with commercial vehicles reporting every minute for up to 7 hours per day. With the world’s largest traffic network, INRIX generates the most comprehensive and timely congestion analyses to date, covering the largest 25 metropolitan areas and all of the U.K. major highways, interstates and limited access roads. INRIX then processes and blends other relevant traffic-related data such as road sensors, traffic accident and incident data and other resources to provide the most comprehensive and accurate traffic information available.

Rankings and scorecards of the Most Congested U.K. Cities, along with an executive summary of the report findings are now available at the INRIX U.K. Traffic Scorecard website at euscorecard.inrix.com. The extensive data powering the INRIX U.K. Traffic Scorecard is immediately available under license for further analysis and review by government agencies and commercial organizations including transportation industry organizations.

To learn more about the Scorecard’s findings, you can also register for a free webinar planned for November 10, 2010 at 11:00 a.m. GMT/6 a.m. ET where INRIX Vice President of Public Sector Rick Schuman and GM of INRIX Europe Hans Puvogel will provide a detailed review of key findings and INRIX traffic data can be applied to improving transportation planning, traffic management and measuring system performance.

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1 Travel Time Tax (T3): The methodology used to measure overall congestion and to establish Urban Area T3 for each of the weekly 40 peak period drive time hours enables the calculation of total U.K. Urban Area congestion metrics, by hour, by morning and evening drive time, by day and overall.

T3 expresses the average amount of extra time it takes to travel relative to free-flow travel. A T3 of 30%, for example, indicates a 20-minute free-flow journey will take 26 minutes during the peak travel time periods, a 6-minute (30%) journey time penalty. For each road segment, a T3 is calculated for each hour of the week, using the formula T3= Reference Speed (RS) minus Hourly Average Speed (HS)/RS. Note if HS > RS, T3 is set to 0%. T3 is a direct derivative of Travel Time Index, a common metric used in congestion analyses.

2 Overall Congestion vs. Travel Time Tax (T3): Overall congestion quantifies and ranks the total congestion in a region. Larger regions tend to have more roads and more locations where congestion occurs, hence more overall congestion. Travel Time Tax (T3) equalizes all regions by dividing out the difference in the size of each region’s road network – giving a more driver centric view of congestion. For example, London and Birmingham have comparable T3 (25.0% vs. 24.3%) – this implies that an average commuter in both cities faces similar delays. However, London has roughly 5 times more people and more than 3 times more road miles of major highways. So at a system level London has much more overall congestion while individuals in both regions each face similar congestion levels.

An analogy is power consumption – the amount of power consumed in each home is similar to the T3; while the amount of total power consumed in a region is similar to overall congestion. Both measures – power used in each home (T3) and power used overall in the region (overall congestion) – are relevant and thus measured.

3 Based on a uncongested commute of 30 minutes each way during peak travel hours

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