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Congestion cost UK economy £6.9 billion in 2019

09 March 2020
10 most congested urban areas in the UK
10 most congested urban areas in the UK


INRIX has published its 2019 INRIX Global Traffic Scorecard, which identified, analysed and ranked congestion and mobility trends in more than 900 cities, across 43 countries. To reflect an increasingly diverse mobility landscape, the 2019 Global Traffic Scorecard includes both public transport and biking metrics for the first time.

INRIX fuses anonymous data from diverse datasets – such as phones, cars, trucks and cities – that leads to robust and accurate insights. The data used in the 2019 Global Traffic Scorecard is the congested or uncongested status of every segment of road for every minute of the day, as used by millions of drivers around the world that rely on INRIX-based traffic services.

In the UK, the 2019 Global Traffic Scorecard analysed the severity of congestion across the country’s top 102 urban areas. The findings show, on average, Brits wasted 115 hours in congestion this year, costing the country £6.9 billion in 2019, an average of £894 per driver.

London ranked as the most congested city in the country where the average commuter sat idle for 149 hours per year to congestion. Across the capital, the total damage to the economy exceeded £4.9bn. Belfast (112 hours), Bristol (103 hours), Edinburgh (98 hours) and Manchester (92 hours) complete the top five.

  • On average, UK road users lost 115 hours and £894 a year to congestion

  • London was the most congested UK city with drivers losing 149 hours in 2019

  • Belfast (112 hours), Bristol (103 hours), Edinburgh (98 hours) and Manchester (92 hours) complete the top five

  • Cardiff saw the biggest growth in congestion, increasing 5% to 87 hours per driver, whilst Nottingham’s congestion decreased by 17%, the biggest drop in the UK top 10

  • A404/A501, A4 and M25, the most congested UK corridors, lost commuters 44, 40 and 36 hours, respectively. Outside the Capital, the A38 in Birmingham caused the biggest delays (32 hours a year)

  • Edinburgh and London tie for title of U.K. slowest city, with last mile speeds of 10 MPH

  • London was the only UK city in the top 10 most congested cities worldwide, ranking eighth overall

Trevor Reed, transportation analyst at INRIX, said: 'Congestion costs drivers, businesses and the UK economy billions of pounds each year. With the rising price of motoring, consumers are getting hit hardest. With the UK budget due soon, hopefully the Chancellor will take the opportunity to address this issue with continued investments in transport networks.'

London accounts for the top five worst corridors in the UK, where drivers on the A404/A501 wasted 44 hours in 2019 at peak hours in congestion. Outside the capital, commuters in Birmingham and Bournemouth on the A38 and A338 experienced yearly delays of 32 hours.

At the global level, Bogota topped the list of the cities most impacted by traffic congestion with drivers losing 191 hours a year to congestion, followed by Rio de Janeiro (190 hours), Mexico City (158 hours) and Istanbul (150 hours). Latin American and European cities again dominated the Top 10, highlighting the rapid urbanisation occurring in Latin America and historic European cities that took shape long before the age of automobile.

Access to reliable data is the first step in tackling congestion. Applying big data to create intelligent transportation systems is key to solving urban mobility problems. INRIX data and analytics on traffic, parking and population movement help city planners and engineers make data-based decisions to prioritise spending in order to maximise benefits and reduce costs now and for the future.

The key findings of the INRIX 2019 Global Traffic Scorecard provide a quantifiable benchmark for governments and cities across the world to measure progress to improve urban mobility and track the impact of spending on smart city initiatives.?

Research Methodology?The INRIX 2019 Global Traffic Scorecard builds on the 2018 Scorecard by identifying multiple commute areas within cities, capturing each cities own unique mobility profile. Furthermore, the 2019 Scorecard analyses travel times between modes and the impact of incidents on congestion within a city. From this multifaceted approach, a holistic understanding is achievable in an increasingly complex landscape.

The INRIX 2019 Global Traffic Scorecard calculates time lost in congestion by employing peak, off-peak and free flow data to multiple commute sub areas within a city. Peak corresponds to the absolute worst portion of the morning and afternoon commute. Off-peak is the low point between the peak periods. Commute sub areas are identified based upon the concentration of trips concluding within a defined area. An economic analysis was performed to estimate the total cost to the average driver in a city, and a total cost to the city population. Worst corridors are limited to those that have the highest traffic volume and are ranked by the average hours of delay per driver in 2019. Additional metrics are available online and in the full report.

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