Commuters waste 115 hours a year stuck in traffic

UK motorists spent an average of 115 hours stuck in traffic last year, according to the latest transport data.

Time lost to sitting in jams cost the country the equivalent of £6.9 billion - or £894 per driver - according to traffic analysts Inrix.

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Unsurprisingly, London proved to be the country’s most congested city, and the eighth worst in the world, with drivers there wasting 149 hours in traffic in 2019.

Belfast was the UK’s second worst city, with drivers there spending 112 hours a year each sitting in traffic jams. Behind it, Bristol (103 hours), Edinburgh (98) and Manchester (92) completed the top five in the country’s list of shame.

Slow going

London and Edinburgh shared the dubious title of the UK's slowest city, with the average speed of the final mile of a journey just 10mph.

However, Cardiff experienced the sharpest rise in congestion. There, drivers spent 87 hours a year in traffic - a five per cent increase on 2018. Conversely, Nottingham drivers saw a 17 per drop in times lost to traffic - down to 78 hours.

Trevor Reed, transportation analyst at Inrix, said that many cities' problems stemmed from the way that they had developed over centuries.

He said: "London is over 2,000 years old. When you develop around walking, and horse and buggy, and everything but cars, the urban environment does not handle [cars] all that well.

"You have very severe congestion and a massive, relatively high earning population.”

He added that even relatively minor growth in traffic numbers was enough to drive up congestion significantly. "You add just enough cars to make nothing work, he said. “Sometimes you add one or two per cent more cars, and it causes a vicious cycle of congestion to set in."

The data found that the UK’s most congested road is the stretch of A404/A501 from Edgware Road to Old Street was the country’s most congested route, with an average of 44 hours lost for every driver. Outside of London,. Birmingham’s A38 in Birmingham say 32 hours of delays per driver.