Motorists in the UK now spend on average 31 hours in traffic on an annual basis, according to traffic information supplier Inrix’s research. This amount of time in gridlock is costing drivers £1,168, once higher freighting fees, wasted fuel and lost time is all calculated.
RAC spokesperson Rod Dennis noted: “There is no silver bullet to sorting out congestion. Ring-fenced funding for improving England’s major roads from 2021 should help, but there also needs to be an emphasis placed on providing cheap, practical, reliable alternatives to the car — especially in urban areas.
“In the meantime, urban planners should be looking at how we can maximise vehicle flow — looking at traffic light sequencings, reducing the amount of time roadworks are live on roads and seeing what impact reducing road space for vehicles is having on journey times.”
Could more knowledge on when and where is the worst for traffic throughout the UK be another solution to the problem? By knowing this information, motorists will be able to spot the places and times to avoid the roads. Volkswagen dealership Vindis explores further…
The UK’s worst places for traffic
Drive in London and it’s obvious that you’re very likely to get stuck in at least one traffic jam. According to the earlier mentioned data gathered by Inrix, the UK’s capital is the second most congested city across the whole of Europe, and drivers can face 73 hours each year in traffic.
London takes the title for the UK’s most congested city then, but it isn’t the only place across the country which has waiting times that stretch into double figures. Manchester, Lincoln, Birmingham, Braintree, Aylesbury, Bath, Luton, and Guildford are all English destinations with waiting times between 25 and 40 hours. Motorists in Scotland won’t always have clear roads either, with those in Aberdeen and Edinburgh expected to lose 28 hours a year due to traffic jams at peak times, while in Wales the most congested city — with 24 hours per year of waiting times — is Newport.
Cities aren’t the only places in the UK to witness gridlock on frequent occasions either. Some of the worst instances of congestion can be found on motorways and major routes on outskirts as drivers complete their commute. Therefore, here’s the UK’s top 10 most congested roads, again gathered by Inrix:
- A406 Northbound, Chiswick Roundabout to Hanger Lane, London. Drivers can expect to lose 73 hours per year on this route.
- A2 Eastbound, New Cross Gate to Prince Charles Road, London. Drivers can expect to lose 62 hours per year on this route.
- A3211 Eastbound, Westminster Bridge to London Bridge, London. Drivers can expect to lose 57 hours per year on this route.
- A102 Northbound, A2/Kidbrooke to Blackwall Tunnel, London. Drivers can expect to lose 51 hours per year on this route.
- A4200 Southbound, Russell Square to Aldwych, London. Drivers can expect to lose 50 hours per year on this route.
- A1 Southbound, College Gardens to Wallace Park, Belfast. Drivers can expect to lose 49 hours per year on this route.
- A308 Eastbound, Putney Bridge Approach to Sloane Square, London. Drivers can expect to lose 46 hours per year on this route.
- A431 Westbound, Bryants Hill to Lawrence Hill, Bristol. Drivers can expect to lose 45 hours per year on this route.
- A24 Northbound, Ormeau Road to Ann Street, Belfast. Drivers can expect to lose 45 hours per year on this route.
- A6 Northbound, Macclesfield Road to Heaton Lane, Manchester. Drivers can expect to lose 44 hours per year on this route.
Selecting a wise time to drive
If your journey isn’t necessary, it will be a wise move to stay off the road throughout the rush hour. Highlighting this point is car insurance experts Admiral, which compared the travel time of routes into various major city centres for a 9am arrival on a Monday morning when compared to 9am on a Sunday morning.
Taking top spot in this research was Cambridge. In that city, 72 extra minutes can be added to a rush hour journey compared to if you completed the same route from A to B at the quietest time of the week, followed by Leeds (51 extra minutes) and Manchester (47 additional minutes). The full top 10 is as follows:
- Cambridge — 72 extra minutes for a rush hour journey.
- Leeds — 51 extra minutes for a rush hour journey.
- Manchester — 47 extra minutes for a rush hour journey.
- Sheffield — 46 extra minutes for a rush hour journey.
- Edinburgh — 45 extra minutes for a rush hour journey.
- Birmingham — 43 extra minutes for a rush hour journey.
- Bristol — 43 extra minutes for a rush hour journey.
- Cardiff — 41 extra minutes for a rush hour journey.
- Aberdeen — 38 extra minutes for a rush hour journey.
- London — 38 extra minutes for a rush hour journey.
Similar to when looking at the UK’s worst places for traffic, it’s again crucial to also look at major roads which are based away from city centres. Once more, Admiral is on hand as they conducted research to find the UK’s most congested routes.
Their study revealed that the journey from Dartford to Trafalgar Square around London takes the crown for being the UK’s most congested route. Motorists can expect a staggering 225 per cent increase in driving time during the morning rush hour along this stretch of road. Romford to Trafalgar Square, again in London, didn’t fare much better, with driving time witnessing a 214 per cent increase throughout the morning rush hour.
Discard London from the research and the most congested routes around the UK are Chepstow to Cabot Circus in Bristol (a 200 per cent increase in driving time during the morning rush hour), Halton to St George’s Hall in Liverpool (a 192 per cent jump in driving time throughout the morning rush hour), and Washington to the Tyne Bridge in Newcastle (a 192 per cent hike in driving time in the morning rush hour).
Admiral’s Motor Product Manager Jo Cox stated: “The figures do bring home the potential time that could be saved if you travel outside of peak times. If at all possible, consider starting your journey and working day earlier or later. It could mean your time is spent a lot more productively.”
Traffic nightmares based on the time of year
Sometimes, the traffic will be bad simply because of the time of the year. Around the 2017 festive break, for instance, following a survey of its drivers the RAC predicted that 1.25 million leisure trips would have been completed on Friday December 22nd 2017, 1.59 million on Saturday December 23rd, 1.87 million on Christmas Eve and a huge 5.3 million on Boxing Day.
The RAC was also on hand earlier in 2017 to caution drivers that they could expect delays when travelling during the first two weeks of that year’s school summer holidays. After an analysis of the travel plans of 3,176 motorists, the organisation predicted that they would have been 37 million leisure trips completed in the initial two weeks of the school holidays. This included 2.5 million journeys being made on the Friday that schools closed for the summer, 3.4 million on the Saturday and 2.8 million on the Sunday.
Hopefully, knowing these facts and figures will allow you to reduce the amount of time you spend in traffic jams — not to mention easing stress levels when you’re behind the wheel.