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Traffic congestion costs UK motorists more than £30bn

Traffic congestion costs UK motorists more than £30bn

Traffic congestion cost UK motorists £30.8 billion in 2016, an average of £968 per driver, according to connected car services company INRIX.

The company has published its all-new Traffic Scorecard, which based on a new methodology, has increased the analysis to 1,064 cities across 38 countries and therefore make it, according to the business, the largest ever study of congestion.  

The UK ranked as the fourth most congested developed country in the world and the third most congested in Europe, with drivers spending an average of 32 hours a year in congestion during peak hours.  

In the UK, the 2016 Traffic Scorecard analysed congestion in 87 cities and large urban areas. London was the UK’s most congested city, and ranked second in Europe after Moscow and seventh in the world.  

Drivers in London spent an average of 73 hours in gridlock during peak hours. That contributed to congestion costing London drivers £1,911 each and the capital as a whole £6.2 billion from direct and indirect costs.  

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

Along with the capital, Manchester, Aberdeen, Birmingham and Edinburgh made up the UK’s five most 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, costing each driver £1,136 and the city £233 million. Motorists in Birmingham spent 9% of their total drive time in congestion last year, costing the city £407 million. 

Major cities in Scotland featured high-up in the UK ranking, with Aberdeen and Edinburgh placing third and fifth respectively. The combined cost to both cities in 2016 was £363 million.  

“Despite Brexit, 2016 saw the UK economy remaining stable, fuel prices staying low and employment growing to an 11-year high, all of which incentivises road travel and helped increase congestion as the 2016 Traffic Scorecard demonstrates,” said Graham Cookson, chief economist, INRIX.  

“The cost of this congestion is staggering, stripping the economy of billions, impacting businesses and costing consumers dearly. To tackle this problem, we must consider bold options such as remote working, wider use of road user charging and investment in big data to create more effective and intelligent transportation systems.”  

Business suffers the most from traffic in Cardiff with congestion between the morning and evening peak periods, both in and out and within the city, occurring for 15% of the time on average, according to INRIX.  

Businesses moving about the centres of Exeter and London also suffer badly from congestion, sitting in traffic in the ‘city centre’ 17% and 16% of the time respectively during the day.