Manchester has second highest congestion levels in UK

Manchester suffers the worst congestion of anywhere outside London, according to new research from the National Infrastructure Commission.

The capital is subjected to the highest levels of congestion in England, but outside London, Manchester tops the table, with Liverpool next followed by Birmingham.

The first area of the country to appear on the league table that is not a city is Accrington and Rossendale – appearing at number 26.

National Infrastructure Commission chairman, Sir John Armitt, said the fact that cities hold the first 25 places demonstrates the clear need for major new investment in the UK’s urban transport networks.

A National Infrastructure Assessment, undertaken by the commission, calls for greater powers to be devolved to metro mayors and local leaders, along with an additional £43 billion funding to 2040, on top of current spending plans.

Sir John said: “From Manchester to Bournemouth, our cities are facing gridlock – creating misery for people trying to get from A to B. Trying to tackle this from London won’t work. Our metro mayors and city leaders need to be in the driving seat to develop local solutions.”

Armitt says that devolved funding will give the people who know their cities best the tools they need to improve urban transport.

He has written to leaders in more than 50 cities across England – including these most congested cities – offering support from the commission as the leaders develop their own integrated plans to improve local transport.

The commission is an independent organisation established to provide advice to Government on meeting the country’s infrastructure needs long into the future.

In developing the league table of the most congested areas of England outside London, it compared the ease with which people could drive from one part of an area to another at peak and off-peak times.

Those areas where the experience of travellers at different times varied considerably were ranked the most congested, while those where the experience was broadly similar ranked the least congested.

It is a new approach to measuring traffic congestion – where conventionally it is measured according to average speeds.

However, the analysis conducted by the commission looks to calculate the real-life experience of drivers, and how this will vary over a range of journeys.

Unlike speed, the new measure can enable comparisons between different areas, helping to identify those places likely to be suffering congestion the most at those crucial peak times, it said.

Based on this, the most congested parts of England outside London were: Manchester; Liverpool; Birmingham; Portsmouth; Southampton; Nottingham; Leeds; Bristol; Brighton; Leicester; and Bournemouth.

Real-time roadworks data service

Fleets will benefit from a new digital service to provide motorists with accurate data on street works called Street Manager that launches next year.

The Department for Transport (DfT) is investing up to £10 million in the project, which will generate real-time data and will be free for technology companies and app developers to use.

With 2.5 million roadworks taking place in England each year, the DfT says it will allow providers, such as Waze and Google maps, to enhance their services and allow other firms to create new products to help company car and van drivers avoid jams.

The new service will replace an out-of-date and ineffective system in use by local authorities and utility companies.

Alongside this, the Government is publishing new bidding guidance on lane rental schemes, which enable councils across England to charge utility companies up to £2,500 a day for carrying out roadworks on the busiest roads at peak times.

Pilot lane rental schemes in London and Kent saw congestion on the busiest roads drop by half.

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