Traffic jams across the UK are causing drivers to lose an average of 30 hours a year. Monitoring service Inrix claims that London is Europe’s most congested city with the average driver squandering 96 hours a year because of traffic jams. Next up was Greater Manchester with 52 hours followed by Merseyside with 37 hours, the data released in August 2015 said.
However, it’s in the Midlands where the biggest increases have been seen, with congestion up by 37 per cent (to 30 hours) in North Staffordshire and 33 per cent (to 28 hours) in Coventry.
Bryan Mistele, CEO of Inrix, said: “For the third year running, traffic in the UK is up. The strong growth of the UK economy and a rise in urban populations have resulted in an increase in the demand for road travel, significantly driving levels of congestion up across the country.”
Inrix claims the UK’s population swelled by 491,100 last year with London alone expanding by 122,100 people. The result, the company says, is the capital’s drivers spent 14 hours more stuck in traffic jams last year than they did in 2013.
London is followed by Brussels (74 hours) then Cologne (65 hours), while Antwerp and Stuttgart are both rated at 64 hours. However, while 30 hours stuck in congestion represents almost four working days lost, the UK is still only fifth in the wasted time league table.
In first place comes Belgium, where the average driver loses a massive 51 hours each year stuck in traffic jams – that’s well over a working week. Next is the Netherlands (41 hours), Germany (39 hours) and Luxembourg (34 hours). Following the UK are Switzerland and France, which are both rated at 29 hours.
Hugh Bladon of the Alliance of British Drivers (www.abd.org.uk) said: “The 30 hours lost represents only the time stuck in traffic jams. On top of this, British drivers are spending more time than ever commuting to and from work.
“According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the average UK commute is 54 minutes, with Londoners typically taking 74 minutes. For many, lengthy commutes are a necessary evil. The high cost of moving, plus rising house prices, means many people can’t afford to live closer to where they work.”
So where do you go if you want to waste as little time as possible stuck in jams? Inrix says head for Portugal and Hungary, where you’ll lose just six and five hours respectively.
However, if the ONS is to be believed, we should all be en route for Malawi – where the average commute is just two minutes. The climate isn’t bad, either.
Six of the best ways to beat traffic jams
- Work from home, even if it’s just for one day a week. Better still if you can time it to coincide with the day of your worst commute (probably a Monday)
- Invest in a sat-nav. It might seem odd setting a nav to guide you on a familiar journey, but a good one will do its best to route you round the worst of the jams
- Avoid peak hours. If you’re able to start before or after everyone else, you can steer clear of the roads when they’re at their busiest
- Monitor the jams. Whether it’s checking online before you leave, listening to the radio or installing an app on your phone, keeping tabs on problems has never been easier
- Move closer to work. It’s an expensive option that you might not be able to afford anyway. But how much do you value the hours you lose every year through commuting?
- Cycle or walk. Many people drive a very short distance to work when it would be quicker – and far healthier – to make the journey on foot or by bike