UK Capital Is Europe’s Worst for Traffic Delays
Each year the average motorist in London is having to sit in traffic for 101 hours, making it the most congested city in the entire continent, according to a new report from INRIX.
Nationally, the typical annual impact of traffic costs drivers 30 hours of their time, but for those heading to the capital on their daily commute the issue is significantly greater.
This news would be bad enough were it not for the fact that analysts have actually recorded a five per cent increase in the time that people are forced to sit in traffic in London in the past year, meaning that the problem is getting worse, not better.
Across the UK the issue of congestion in cities is still present but is not nearly as bad as in London. Greater Manchester took second place in the study, with drivers averaging 51 hours in traffic per year.
The majority of the UK’s biggest urban areas saw an increase in the length of delays caused by traffic in 2015, although there were some exceptions. Drivers in Birmingham had smoother journeys last year, for example, with the reason for this being the fact that some major roadwork projects which were still ongoing when the 2014 study was carried out had finally finished.
In spite of London’s position as Europe’s most congested capital, the UK itself is only the sixth-worst place for traffic delays in the continent. Belgium held on to the top spot in this respect, with average annual delays hitting 44 hours for motorists in this comparatively small nation.
It seems that the size and population of a country have little bearing on traffic levels, indicating that infrastructural elements are more important in determining whether or not delays occur.
Report spokesperson Bryan Mistele said that London’s economic prosperity was leading to the increased issues with congestion, and he also pointed out that people across the UK were not having to wait as long while behind the wheel. This implies that steps being taken to tackle traffic are having a beneficial impact in certain places, with the UK’s capital being the exception because of its rapid growth.
Drivers in South Yorkshire enjoy a below-average amount of time wasted in traffic, with 27 hours consumed by this activity over the course of last year. Coventry and Warwick are similarly better at coping with congestion than many of their urban counterparts, with waiting times of 28 hours estimated in the study.
Congestion is a problem for London for many reasons, although the age of the city and the inconsistent nature of its layout has made it extremely difficult for successive governments to do much about this issue. The introduction of the Congestion Charge has helped ease some pressure in the centre of the city, but using the roads to get around outside this zone can still be a nightmare for motorists.
There are several technological developments which could lessen road traffic in London without having to make changes to the infrastructure of the city itself. And the rise of self-driving cars could ultimately improve the situation over the coming decades, allowing the use of autonomous systems to manage the flow of traffic with greater success than humans.
Self-driving cars have the added benefit of allowing their passengers to remain productive while they are on the move, rather than the current situation in which time stuck in traffic is effectively wasted for those who are behind the wheel.
Remote working is another congestion-easing solution which various businesses based in and around the capital are beginning to adopt in order to prevent travel problems from compromising employee productivity. So rather than having to waste hours a day on the commute even if traffic is light, people will be able to work from home or from another location while still being able to fulfil all of their professional duties.