Britain’s traffic woes under the spotlight
A study by traffic information supplier Inrix suggests that UK motorists currently spend an average of 31 hours stuck in traffic on a yearly basis. £1,168 is the cost of this time spent in gridlock, due to wasted fuel, lost time and higher freighting fees.
“There is no silver bullet to sorting out congestion,” RAC spokesperson Rod Dennis admitted. “Ring-fenced funding for improving England’s major roads from 2021 should help, but there also needs to be an emphasis placed on providing cheap, practical, reliable alternatives to the car — especially in urban areas.
“In the meantime, urban planners should be looking at how we can maximise vehicle flow — looking at traffic light sequencings, reducing the amount of time roadworks are live on roads and seeing what impact reducing road space for vehicles is having on journey times.”
Could another potential solution for sorting out the UK’s traffic dilemma be for drivers to know more about when and where will be the worst for traffic? That way, those behind the wheel can identify the places and times to avoid when heading out on the road. Vindis, an Audi dealer, looks into this possible solution in further detail…
Hotspots for traffic jams across the UK
You shouldn’t be shocked to hear that you’re extremely likely to face a traffic jam or two when driving in London. According to the earlier mentioned data gathered by Inrix, the UK’s capital is the second most congested city across the whole of Europe, and drivers can face 73 hours each year in traffic.
While London is the most congested city in the UK, it’s one of at least a dozen places throughout the nation where waiting times go into double figures. Manchester, Lincoln, Birmingham, Braintree, Aylesbury, Bath, Luton, and Guildford are all English destinations with waiting times between 25 and 40 hours. Motorists in Scotland won’t always have clear roads either, with those in Aberdeen and Edinburgh expected to lose 28 hours a year due to traffic jams at peak times, while in Wales the most congested city — with 24 hours per year of waiting times — is Newport.
Gridlocked roads throughout the UK isn’t solely reserved to city centres, however. Some of the worst instances of congestion can be found on motorways and major routes on outskirts as drivers complete their commute. Therefore, here’s the UK’s top 10 most congested roads, again gathered by Inrix:
- A406 Northbound, Chiswick Roundabout to Hanger Lane, London. Drivers can expect to lose 73 hours per year on this route.
- A2 Eastbound, New Cross Gate to Prince Charles Road, London. Drivers can expect to lose 62 hours per year on this route.
- A3211 Eastbound, Westminster Bridge to London Bridge, London. Drivers can expect to lose 57 hours per year on this route.
- A102 Northbound, A2/Kidbrooke to Blackwall Tunnel, London. Drivers can expect to lose 51 hours per year on this route.
- A4200 Southbound, Russell Square to Aldwych, London. Drivers can expect to lose 50 hours per year on this route.
- A1 Southbound, College Gardens to Wallace Park, Belfast. Drivers can expect to lose 49 hours per year on this route.
- A308 Eastbound, Putney Bridge Approach to Sloane Square, London. Drivers can expect to lose 46 hours per year on this route.
- A431 Westbound, Bryants Hill to Lawrence Hill, Bristol. Drivers can expect to lose 45 hours per year on this route.
- A24 Northbound, Ormeau Road to Ann Street, Belfast. Drivers can expect to lose 45 hours per year on this route.
- A6 Northbound, Macclesfield Road to Heaton Lane, Manchester. Drivers can expect to lose 44 hours per year on this route.
When’s it wise to drive in the UK?
Driving in the rush hour should be avoided if you can help it. Highlighting this point is car insurance experts Admiral, which compared the travel time of routes into various major city centres for a 9am arrival on a Monday morning when compared to 9am on a Sunday morning.
Cambridge took top spot in this study. In that city, 72 extra minutes can be added to a rush hour journey compared to if you completed the same route from A to B at the quietest time of the week, followed by Leeds (51 extra minutes) and Manchester (47 additional minutes). The full top 10 is as follows:
- Cambridge — 72 extra minutes for a rush hour journey.
- Leeds — 51 extra minutes for a rush hour journey.
- Manchester — 47 extra minutes for a rush hour journey.
- Sheffield — 46 extra minutes for a rush hour journey.
- Edinburgh — 45 extra minutes for a rush hour journey.
- Birmingham — 43 extra minutes for a rush hour journey.
- Bristol — 43 extra minutes for a rush hour journey.
- Cardiff — 41 extra minutes for a rush hour journey.
- Aberdeen — 38 extra minutes for a rush hour journey.
- London — 38 extra minutes for a rush hour journey.
Just like the fact that the UK’s worst places for traffic isn’t exclusively roads based in city centres, major roads will get much more congested at certain times of the day and week. Admiral is on hand to highlight this point once more, as they conducted research to find the UK’s most congested routes.
The journey around London from Dartford to Trafalgar Square came out on top in their study to find the most congested route across the UK. Motorists can expect a staggering 225 per cent increase in driving time during the morning rush hour along this stretch of road. Romford to Trafalgar Square, again in London, didn’t fare much better, with driving time witnessing a 214 per cent increase throughout the morning rush hour.
Away from London, the UK’s most congested routes have been found to be Chepstow to Cabot Circus in Bristol (a 200 per cent increase in driving time during the morning rush hour), Halton to St George’s Hall in Liverpool (a 192 per cent jump in driving time throughout the morning rush hour), and Washington to the Tyne Bridge in Newcastle (a 192 per cent hike in driving time in the morning rush hour).
“The figures do bring home the potential time that could be saved if you travel outside of peak times,” pointed out Admiral’s Motor Product Manager Jo Cox. “If at all possible, consider starting your journey and working day earlier or later. It could mean your time is spent a lot more productively.”
Times of the year when traffic will be particularly bad
The time of the year will also sometimes see traffic levels spike. Around the 2017 festive break, for instance, following a survey of its drivers the RAC predicted that 1.25 million leisure trips would have been completed on Friday December 22nd 2017, 1.59 million on Saturday December 23rd, 1.87 million on Christmas Eve and a huge 5.3 million on Boxing Day.
Motorists were also warned by the RAC earlier in 2017 that they could expect delays when driving in the first couple of weeks of that year’s school summer holidays. After an analysis of the travel plans of 3,176 motorists, the organisation predicted that they would have been 37 million leisure trips completed in the initial two weeks of the school holidays. This included 2.5 million journeys being made on the Friday that schools closed for the summer, 3.4 million on the Saturday and 2.8 million on the Sunday.
Hopefully, you’ll become less stressful when driving and cut the time you spend in gridlock significantly by taking note of the facts and figures provided in this article.