Traffic congestion rising, TomTom research finds

22/03/2016
Highways Reporters

Research published by TomTom suggests that traffic congestion in the UK’s biggest cities is 14% worse than it was just five years ago.  

It says the country is bucking the trend in Europe, which has seen average congestion fall 3% over the same period.

The annual Traffic Index from TomTom shows average UK journeys in 2015 took 29% longer than they would in free-flowing conditions – up from a 25% delay in 2010.

London is the 20th most congested city worldwide – and second worst in the UK – with journey times 38% slower, rising to 66% in the evening peak.  Manchester (37% slower) moves up into third place, overtaking Edinburgh (37%) and Brighton (34%).

The next five worst cities for congestion are Hull, Bournemouth, Newcastle, Bristol and Sheffield.

It’s analysed 14 trillion pieces of traffic data it’s gathered worldwide which suggests the morning rush hour is almost 10% more congested than in 2010, with the evening peak nearly a fifth (19%) worse – which it thinks shows people return home in a narrower time period in the evenings.

The average commuter driving to and from work in the UK’s top 25 cities wasted 127 hours (more than 5 whole days) stuck in traffic during 2015.

Congestion has got 4% worse in the past year alone, rising in 17 of the 25 UK cities in the report, with a further 4 remaining about the same.  Only Nottingham, Portsmouth, Middlesbrough and Preston have shown slight decreases.

TomTom analysed traffic patterns in 295 cities across the world for its Traffic Index and found that Belfast was the most congested city in the UK – and 14th worst in the world.   Journey times in 2015 were 40% slower than free-flow traffic throughout the day – peaking at 86% longer in the evening rush hour.

“Transport authorities are managing congestion with well-engineered policies, but you can’t just build your way out of traffic jams”, comments Ralf-Peter Schaefer, vice-president of TomTom Traffic.  “Studies have shown that policies of ‘predict and provide’ are unsustainable.  Building new motorways and ring roads doesn’t eliminate congestion.  More must be done to better manage existing road space and to spread demand.

“People simply aren’t doing enough to change their travel habits – such as working flexible hours, avoiding peak commuting times, making use of real–time traffic information and trying alternative travel modes.”

But Schaefer says there is a solution: “If only five per cent of us changed our travel plans, we could improve traffic congestion on our main roads by up to thirty per cent”.

Globally, Istanbul has been knocked off the top spot by Mexico City.  Commuters in the Mexican capital can expect to spend 59% extra travel time stuck in traffic during the day, rising to 94% in the evening peak period – a total of 219 wasted hours a year.

The next most congested big cities worldwide are Bangkok (57%), Istanbul (50%), Rio de Janeiro (47%) and Moscow (44%).

TomTom says it has been collecting traffic data since 2008 and over that period, the UK city that has recorded the largest overall growth in congestion is Coventry – up a staggering 67%.  Stoke-on-Trent has seen the biggest increase in rush hour congestion, at 44%.

But Cardiff has seen overall congestion fall 19% since 2008.

TomTom says its Traffic Index is the only global measurement of congestion comparing travel times between non-congested hours and rush hour periods, for passenger vehicles.  It takes into account local roads, main roads and motorways across 295 cities in 38 countries on six continents.

The latest report is based on data for January – December 2015.

Latest Issue

latest magazine issue

Inside

  • Smart motorways' BCR problem
  • New lighting decision support tool

 

 

View the latest issue


Highways jobs

Senior Project Manager

Up to £50,823 per annum
The role of this post is to oversee the project management, development and implementation of the County Council’s Major Transport Projects.. Leicestershire
Recruiter: Leicestershire County Council

Programme and Change Delivery Manager (Spatial Planning and Urban Design)

£43,833 - £53,115 Depending on skills and experience
Are you a change delivery manager with expertise in England’s local government spatial planning and urban design sector? Wandsworth, London (Greater)
Recruiter: London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth

Bridges Manager – Highways and Transportation

£49,320 to £57,376
You will be responsible for... Northallerton, North Yorkshire
Recruiter: North Yorkshire County Council

Head of Major Projects and Infrastructure – Highways and Transportation

£59,526 to £67,815 plus 10% recruitment payment
This role will be pivotal to the effective delivery of our Highways and Transportation service, therefore requires an... Northallerton, North Yorkshire
Recruiter: North Yorkshire County Council

Principal Travel Plan Officer

£34,728 to £38,890 per annum
We have a fantastic opening within our team for a Principal Travel Plan Officer. Taunton, Somerset
Recruiter: Somerset County Council

Director of Economy & Environment

£96,414 to £106,650 per annum
You will play a leading role in driving forward the county’s ambitious growth programme. Gloucester, Gloucestershire
Recruiter: Gloucestershire County Council

Director of Transport & Highways

£96,414 to £106,650 per annum
You will play a leading role in driving forward Gloucestershire’s ambitious, multi-million pound transport and highways programme. Gloucester, Gloucestershire
Recruiter: Gloucestershire County Council

Board and Partnership Board Chair

Up to £60,000 per annum
This is unique opportunity to lead the Northern agenda and play a pivotal role in creating new opportunities for 15 million people in the North. Manchester/Leeds (Flexible)
Recruiter: Transport for the North

Waste Strategy Manager

£47,672 per annum
We are looking to recruit a waste strategy specialist to add the necessary technical expertise to our team. North Tyneside, Tyne and Wear
Recruiter: North Tyneside Metropolitan Borough Council

Highways Officers

£26,999 to £29,636
Are you someone who is looking to progress their career with one of the most highly regarded highway services in the country? Selby, North Yorkshire
Recruiter: North Yorkshire County Council

Highways Operative

£19,312 to £21,748
We are looking for Highways Operatives to work as part of our operations teams here at Kirklees Council. Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recruiter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Senior Environmental Health Officer

£44,370 - £50,964 per annum
As a Senior Officer in the Food Safety & Infectious Disease team, you will be one of the operational leads on... Kensington and Chelsea, London (Greater)
Recruiter: The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Council

Permit Officer

£24,982 - £27,041
In October 2016 Cambridgeshire County Council launched it Permit Scheme for Road Works and Street Works. Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire
Recruiter: Cambridgeshire County Council

Traffic Systems Engineer

Competitive Salary
This is a full time role, with a minimum of 37 hours a week for a 6 month interim period, with the potential of the role going permanent. York, North Yorkshire
Recruiter: City of York Council

Transport Compliance Officer

£27,741 - £30,451 per annum
An exciting opportunity has arisen for two Transport Compliance Officers to join our Transport Services team at... Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recruiter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Client Team Leader - Highway Maintenance

£40,876 - £42,821 per annum
Are you looking for a challenge that widens your experience, adds something unique to your CV and helps to make Warwickshire the best it can be?  Warwickshire
Recruiter: Warwickshire County Council

Head of Waste & Parking

£62,235–£68,615 pa
Are you passionate about waste recycling and the bigger picture of sustainability and tackling the climate emergency? Horsham, West Sussex
Recruiter: Horsham District Council

Project Engineer x2

Grade H £35,745 - £43,857
We’re looking for experienced civil engineers to join our well-regarded design and implementation team. Havant, Hampshire
Recruiter: Havant Borough Council

Environment Locality Officer

£27,741 - £29,577 per annum
The officer will play a key role in collaborative working with other internal & external stakeholders specifically... Telford, Shropshire
Recruiter: Telford & Wrekin Council

Senior Principal Structures Engineer

£39,880 - £42,821 per annum
We are looking for a dynamic structurally competent and relevantly experienced officer, to deliver the structural requirements and disciplines on... Bristol
Recruiter: Bristol City Council

Highways Presents

Highways on Fridays

Register now!

Latest Video