Anyone that commutes to work or drives for a living will know that the UK’s roads are full to bursting point. Back in 1971 there were around 20 million vehicles on the road. By December 2017, that figure had risen to 37.7 million, 31.2 million of which were cars.
The number of new cars appearing on the roads is rising by nearly 600,00 a year, and the increase in small businesses has meant that the number of commercial vehicles is on the increase as well. Many roads seem permanently clogged with traffic, and the impact on the economy, the country and its inhabitants is staggering.
THE SPIRALLING COST OF TRAFFIC
According to the INRIX 2017 Global Traffic Scorecard, the UK is in the top 10 most congested of the 38 countries surveyed, and the second most congested in Europe (surprisingly, Moscow is number one). The cost of congestion across the UK – loss of productivity, fuel, pollution, wear and tear etc. – amounts to £37.7 billion a year – £1,168 for every driver.
For the tenth year running, London is the UK’s most congested city, with motorists spending, on average, 74 hours a year stuck in traffic, and a total cost to the city of £9.5 billion a year! Peak hours are the worst, where drivers can spend 23% of their time travelling at less then 5 mph (average walking speed is just over 3 mph, in case you were wondering).
The full list list of the most congested UK cities looks like this…
|Rank||City||Peak hours spent in congestion||Average congestion rate||Total cost per driver||Total cost to the city|
ROADS TO NOWHERE
So where are the UK’s most congested roads? (Just in case you want to avoid them.) The top five worst routes in London are…
|Rank||Road||From||To||Worst peak period||Total hours delay|
|1||A406||A205 Chiswick Roundabout||A40 Hangar Lane||PM||56|
|2||A23||Kennington Park||Norbury Station||PM||50|
|3||A4200/A4||Russell Square||New Fetter Lane||AM||47|
|4||Earls Court Road||Kensington High St||A308||AM||42|
|5||A406||Finchley Road||Colney Hatch Lane||PM||42|
And the most congested roads outside of London are as follows…
|Rank||City||Road||From||To||Worst peak period||Total hours delay|
|1||Birmingham||A34||Robin Hood Lane||A41||PM||44|
|10||Manchester||A580/A6||Blackfriars Road||Worsley Road||PM||30|
Of course if this all sounds dreadful, spare thought for Moscow residents, who can look forward to spending 91 hours a year in traffic jams! Founded in the year 1147, Moscow’s ancient radial road system just wasn’t built for the city’s 4-million-plus car, so local residents are used to commutes of anything from 1.4 to 4 hours!
However nothing compares to the hassle of driving (or, rather, not driving) through Los Angeles, the most congested city on the planet. L.A. motorists can expect an average of 102 hours a year spent on gridlocked highways during peak hours. That’s almost a full working week every year spent looking at the red brake lights of the car in front. Thank heavens for in-car entertainment, eh?