London is Europe’s most congested city with drivers spending 96 hours on average stuck in traffic.
Data from traffic information service Inrix found that 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.
The company said population growth and urbanisation were 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. 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.
“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.”
Inrix’s Traffic Scorecard Report also found that 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.
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.