How Much Time Do We Waste in Traffic?

How Much Time Do We Waste in Traffic

It’s fair to say that almost every car owner in the UK has experienced the sheer frustration that comes with sitting in stationary traffic while the minutes (and sometimes, hours!) pass by. From rush-hour traffic jams to city centre congestion, there are plenty of reasons why our busy UK roads often slow to a standstill. Studies show that the start of the new school year is the worst time for congestion causing over a third of Brits to feel even more stressful on their commute.

Many cities are reaching new all-time highs for congestion; Aberdeen overtook London for congestion rates during peak periods in 2016, with drivers stuck in gridlock 24% of the time, moving at an average speed of just 5.5mph. It’s no surprise that the UK has been named the third worst country in Europe for traffic congestion.

How Long do we Spend in Traffic?

According to a recent study by traffic information company Inrix, the average UK driver loses a whopping 32 hours each year to traffic jams and delays during peak hours.

And it gets worse, according to the study’s totalling of direct and indirect costs of congestion in the UK, our packed streets and motorways are costing us an extra £32 billion each year – that’s an average of £968 per driver!

The company analysed over 80 cities and urban areas around the UK, ranking them in order of severe congestion. It will likely come as little surprise that our busy capital, London, was first on the list, followed by Manchester, Aberdeen, Birmingham and Edinburgh.

If you’re a London resident, 32 hours may seem surprisingly low, and with good reason. In London alone, the time lost to congestion is more than double the average UK figure, totalling 73 hours per year and costing each driver an average of £1,911 annually!

INRIX 2016 Traffic Scorecard – UK’s 10 Most Congested Cities / Large Urban Areas   Souce:

Rank City / Large Urban Area 2016 Peak Hours Spent in Congestion Percentage of Total Drive Time in Congestion (peak and non-peak hours) Total Cost Per Driver in 2016 Total Cost to the City in 2016 (based on city population size)
1 London 73 12.7%  £1,911  £6.2bn
2 Manchester 39 9.9%  £1,136  £233m
3 Aberdeen 35 12.3%  £1,331  £138m
4 Birmingham 34 8.5%  £990  £407m
5 Edinburgh 31 9.8%  £1,009  £225m
6 Guildford 29 8.6%  £812  £44m
7 Luton 29 10.7%  £964  £72m
8 Bournemouth 27 10.8%  £1,019  £84m
9 Hull 27 9.4%  £970  £109m
10 Bristol 27 8.8%  £845  £154m

Why is Congestion on the Rise?

Many have speculated that the considerable rise in traffic congestion around the UK is due to the dramatic increase of delivery vans and trucks on the roads since the ‘e-commerce‘ revolution. With millions of orders being placed online for delivery each year, the amount of delivery drivers and vehicles has inevitably increased too, especially in built-up, highly-populated areas.

Couple this with the continuous increase in car owners in the UK (of which the number has increased almost every year since WW2) and the higher number of UK residents travelling into the city centre to work, it becomes considerably easier to understand why such severe congestion occurs in our cities.

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With a passion for great content and all things vehicular, Daniel combines his interests to update our blog with the latest and greatest motoring news.

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