YORKSHIRE’S motorists are having to endure life in the slow lane during the so-called rush-hour, new figures have revealed.
The average speed of travel at peak periods on roads in the county’s six biggest cities is just 14.5mph, according to research conducted by experts from the Direct Line insurance firm.
Wakefield is the worst-performing Yorkshire city, with an average rush-hour speed of 12mph – the sixth lowest of nearly 50 places studied nationwide.
The other local cities whose average peak period speeds feature in the research are Hull (13mph), Bradford (13.7mph), Sheffield (14.9mph), Leeds (15.5mph) and York (17.6mph).
York’s figure makes it one of the best performers nationally, along with Peterborough and Oxford. Central London, Lancaster and Cambridge are the places with the lowest rush-hour speeds.
Reduced peak period speeds in Yorkshire cities extend a typical half-hour journey by an average of nearly six minutes.
Thursday is said to be the worst day for congestion in Hull, Bradford and Leeds. Monday is the day to avoid in Wakefield and York while Friday poses the biggest headaches for drivers in Sheffield.
West Yorkshire Combined Authority chair Coun Peter Box said the research underlined the importance of improving the county’s travel network and tackling congestion hotspots.
Coun Box also said it showed why the authority was seeking urgent talks with Chancellor George Osborne in a bid to end “government delays” over a £1.6bn fund that would help bankroll a string of local transport schemes.
Direct Line based its study on data collected during 20 million miles’ worth of journeys by motorists using its Drive Plus ‘telematics’ devices.
The black box-style range of technology monitors people’s driving patterns, including the time taken on different routes. For the purposes of the research, rush-hours were classed as 8am to 9am and 4pm to 6pm.
Direct Line head of telematics Paul Felton said: “This analysis shows the real experiences of motorists across the country on their commuting journeys.
“By enabling drivers to easily keep track of their own journeys, telematics can assist motorists in making travelling as stress-free as possible by providing feedback on individual journeys, including the time and length of their journey and their acceleration, braking and overall smoothness.”
Recent efforts to ease congestion in Yorkshire include the start of work on Leeds’s biggest ever bus-based park and ride scheme, on land next to the Elland Road football ground.
Supporters of the city’s trolleybus project say it will also reduce congestion if it gets the green light.
York Council, meanwhile, is forming a cross-party commission to come up with ideas for keeping the city on the move.
The step follows the end of restrictions that saw private car drivers handed £60 penalties for crossing York’s Lendal Bridge during a large part of the day.