UK traffic congestion getting worse

June 5, 2014 | By | In News

UK PLC may be lauding the upturn in new car sales, but motorists are finding themselves contending with ever-worsening congestion, according to a new report.

The fourth annual traffic index from satnav manufacturer TomTom shows that on average, journeys undertaken in 2013 took 27 per cent longer than they would in free-flowing traffic. This is up from a 26 per cent delay in 2012.

In 10 of the UK’s largest 17 cities, traffic congestion has worsened, with the rest exhibiting similar levels of tailbacks. Only two local authorities – Leeds-Bradford and Bristol – have enjoyed a reduction in the amount of congestion.

The worsening state of traffic now means the average commuter spends an astonishing 10 days each year stuck in traffic, up from nine days last year.

And, despite many drivers using ‘rat-runs’ to beat the jams, TomTom’s research suggests that they could actually be lengthening journey times and only satisfying drivers’ desire to keep moving, rather than providing any real benefit.

“The traditional responses to congestion – such as building new roads or widening existing ones – are no longer proving to be effective.”

Belfast remains the UK’s most congested city, with traffic slowing journey times by an average of 36 per cent, rising to a massive 78 per cent during the morning rush hour.

Following closely behind is London, with motorists suffering a 34 per cent increase in journey times on average, and a 63 per cent delay during the peak evening rush.

However, it is Sheffield and Leicester that have shown the largest increase in congestion over the past year, and are the UK’s 8th and 11th most congested cities respectively.

“Traffic congestion is nothing new, and continues to be a global challenge,” commented Harold Goddijn, CEO of TomTom.

“The traditional responses to congestion – such as building new roads or widening existing ones – are no longer proving to be effective.”

Time lost to traffic congestion is estimated to cost the UK economy around £2 billion annually. It’s only likely to get worse, too, with the Government forecasting an additional four million drivers on our roads by 2030.

How has increased traffic congestion affected your journeys? Have your say below.

Picture: Fotolia

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