UK’s most congested cities revealed

Belfast tops the list of the UK’s most congested cities according to new traffic statistics released this week by ‘sat nav’ manufacturer TomTom. Drivers in Northern Ireland’s capital city find that on average their road journeys take 40% longer than they would in free flowing conditions according to the company's new Traffic Index.

Overall this amounts to 24 working days lost per vehicle every year and is 11% higher than the national average of journeys taking 29% longer than in free flowing traffic. It is also 2% higher than in London, which comes in as the second most congested city. Manchester and Edinburgh sit in third and fourth place respectively, with the former showing a 5% increase in average journey times against free flowing conditions since last year.

"Traffic congestion may be seen as a fact of life for every driver but, cumulatively, it is taking a heavy toll on the UK economy and this should not be accepted as an inevitability," said TomTom Telematics director Beverley Wise.

The company’s research shows that congestion costs UK businesses approximately £767M a year in lost productivity due to commercial drivers becoming stuck in traffic, with £237M of this lost in London alone. It adds that traffic across the UK’s 25 most congested cities and towns increases the time each vehicle spends on the road by an average of 127 hours a year.

"Organisations that rely heavily on a mobile workforce must look for ways to maximise the time employees spend actually doing jobs by minimising time spent on the road," said Berverley Wise.

"Through smarter planning, routing and scheduling, companies can help their drivers to better avoid traffic, which could not only have an impact on productivity but also customer service." She added that telematics solutions could help businesses mitigate the effect of traffic congestion and minimise time spent on the road.

Also this week traffic analytics firm Inrix has revealed the UK’s worst traffic hotspot to be on the M25 between junctions 15 and 16, near Heathrow Airport.

The company's research also shows that London has more traffic hotspots than any of the 123 major European cities analysed.