INRIX, a provider of real-time traffic information and connected driving services, has published its Traffic Scorecard Report revealing UK drivers wasted an average of 30 hours in congestion during 2014, with London revealed as Europe’s most congested city.
The UK climbed one place to fifth in the list of Europe’s most congested countries, although UK motorists spent 21 fewer hours in traffic than those in Belgium, Europe’s most congested country, where drivers spent 51 hours stuck in gridlock in 2014.
“It is vitally important for modern city planning authorities to have access to traffic data that is accurate, accessible and reliable,” Greg Hallsworth, INRIX Lead Scientist and Traffic Analyst told Cities Today. “Increasingly public authorities are focusing on using real-time and historical traffic data to help them manage their road networks. What makes the INRIX Scorecard so comprehensive and reliable is the data is based on an analysis of trillions of real-time data points from over a hundred sources including crowd-sourced data from a variety of commercial vehicles.”
The UK economy grew by 2.8 percent last year, its highest rise since 2006 and faster than any other major developed country and double the European Union average. Levels of unemployment also decreased in 2014 by 21 percent from 2013. These factors, which are driving up consumer spending as well as spurring roadwork and construction projects nationwide, had a big impact on traffic with an increase of private and commercial vehicles on the road and more people commuting to work by car.
“For the third year running, traffic in the UK is up,” said Bryan Mistele, President and CEO at INRIX. “The strong growth of the UK economy and rise in urban populations has resulted in an increase in the demand for road travel, significantly driving levels of congestion up across the country.”
Population growth and urbanisation are key drivers of congestion, and the UK’s population grew by 491,100 last year, reaching a record high. London’s population also experienced high growth in 2014, increasing by 122,100 people. This contributed to drivers in the capital spending 96 hours on average stuck in traffic, 14 hours more than in 2013, resulting in London becoming Europe’s most congested city.
“London is certainly growing quickly, but plans to improve the infrastructure to cope with this level of growth are already in hand, with Transport for London having a £4 billion road modernisation plan under way,” added Hallsworth. “This will tackle improvements to junctions, bridges and tunnels as well as improvements for cyclists. Alongside this other major public-funded infrastructure schemes such as Crossrail are also due for completion over the next few years.”
Of the 13 European countries analysed in the report, more than half experienced a rise in levels of congestion in 2014 compared to 2013, reflective of steady economic growth. Nations struggling with high unemployment and low or negative economic growth typically recorded lower levels of traffic congestion compared to 2013.