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London has Europe's most congested roads for third year running

By Mathilda Bartholomew | June 27, 2024

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In 2023, drivers in the city spent an average of 99 hours stuck in traffic

London has Europe's most congested roads for third year running

London has been named the most congested city in Europe, with traffic jams costing the UK economy £7.5 billion annually.

INRIX, a transportation data and analytics company, ranked nearly 950 cities worldwide for traffic congestion. London ranks third globally for the worst traffic.

In 2023, London drivers wasted 99 hours in traffic, a 3% increase from pre-pandemic times and 2% more than in 2022. This cost London £3.8 billion, or £902 per driver.

Across the UK, traffic congestion cost £7.5 billion, which is £718 million more than in 2022. The average UK driver lost 61 hours to traffic last year, up 7% from the 57 hours lost in 2022. London alone accounted for about 50% of all UK traffic delays.

The most congested urban areas in the UK:

  • London
  • Birmingham
  • Bristol
  • Leeds
  • Wigan
  • Bath
  • Chelmsford
  • Manchester
  • Hertford-Harlow
  • Burton upon Trent

Bob Pishue, a transportation analyst and author of the report, noted, “We are seeing travel return to pre-Covid levels. The UK and Europe have seen smaller increases in congestion this year than in other parts of the world which indicates that these countries have found their new travel norms.

“While London remains most impacted by congestion in the UK, its drop to third suggests that other large global cities have returned to pre-COVID levels of activity. As an indication of strong economic activity, increased congestion can be a positive sign for cities.”

Drivers in London (99 hours), Birmingham (60 hours), and Bristol (62 hours) faced the worst traffic in the UK. Sheffield and Rochester dropped out of the UK top 10, now ranking 11th and 14th, respectively, while Manchester and Hertford-Harlow moved up to 8th and 9th. Due to its population, employment, and economic activity, London has most of the UK's top traffic corridors. For instance, a driver on the Westbound A40 between the North Circular and Church Road during peak hour would lose 63 hours annually in traffic. In Birmingham, the busiest corridor is the A34 Southbound from Camp Hill Circus to A4040, with drivers losing about eight minutes daily, totalling 34 hours annually.

Like the US and Germany, the UK saw traffic congestion return to pre-COVID levels in 2023. London's 2% increase is lower than in other top 25 global cities, indicating it rebounded from COVID effects sooner, while others are catching up. London is the only UK city in the global top 25.

Despite overall congestion growth, Birmingham, Leeds, and Wigan fell in the impact rankings as congestion in other cities increased faster.

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