UK drivers spend an average of 31 hours a year in congestion

The UK has been ranked as the 10th most congested country in the world and the third most congested in Europe, by analysts at Inrix.

It has found that drivers spending an average of 31 hours a year in congestion during peak hours costing the UK billions of pounds.

The direct and indirect costs of congestion to all UK motorists amounted to more than £37.7 billion in 2017, an average of £1,168 per driver.

In the UK, the Inrix 2017 Global Traffic Scorecard analysed congestion in 111 cities and towns.

London remained the UK’s most congested major city for the 10th year in a row, ranked second in Europe after Moscow and seventh in the world overall.

Drivers in London spent an average of 74 hours in gridlock during peak hours, an increase of one hour since last year. This contributed to congestion costing London drivers £2,430 a year each and the capital as a whole £9.5 billion from direct and indirect costs.

Direct costs relate to the value of fuel and time wasted, while indirect costs relate to freighting and business fees from company vehicles idling in traffic that are passed on to the household bills through higher prices.

“Combined with the rising price of motoring, the cost of congestion is astonishing – it takes billions out of the economy and impacts businesses and individuals alike,” said Dr Graham Cookson, chief economist at Inrix.

“With the Office of National Statistics showing more cars on the road than ever before, we need to consider innovative new approaches to solving the issue.

“Increased flexible working or road charges have potential, however, transport authorities should be looking to exciting developments in data analytics and AI which promise to reinvent our approach to traffic management.”

Along with the capital, Manchester, Birmingham, Luton and Edinburgh made up the UK’s five most major congested cities.

Drivers in Manchester spent 39 hours in congestion during peak hours, and 10% of their total drive time (peak and non-peak hours) in gridlock. This in turn cost each driver £1,403, and the city £345 million.

Motorists in Birmingham spent over 9% of their total drive time in congestion last year, costing the city £632 million.

RAC spokesman Rod Dennis said: “These figures bring into sharp focus a reality suffered by commuters up and down the UK every year – that in some areas our roads are struggling to cope under the sheer weight of traffic. Not only is this bad news for the economy, it’s also bad for air quality and indeed drivers’ own wellbeing.”

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