Busy motorway

Congested roads cost UK drivers billions in wasted time and fuel

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Traffic congestion cost UK motorists more than £30bn in 2016, according to a study by connected car services provider Inrix.

The company's Traffic Scorecard, which covers 1,064 cities in 38 countries, reveals that the UK is the fourth most congested developed country in the world and the third most congested in Europe, with drivers spending an average of 32 hours a year in congestion during peak hours.

Busy road at nightThis added up to to £30.8bn in direct and indirect costs in 2016, an average of £968 per driver. Direct costs relate to the value of fuel and time wasted, and indirect costs relate to freighting and business fees from company vehicles idling in traffic, which are passed on to households through higher prices, Inrix explained.

In the UK, the Traffic Scorecard analysed congestion in 87 cities and large urban areas. Unsurprisingly, London remains the UK's most congested city, ranking second in Europe after Moscow and seventh in the world.

London motorists spend an average of 13% of their total drive time stuck in traffic. Last year they spent an average of 73 hours, or three days, stuck in traffic during peak hours. As a result, congestion cost London drivers £1,911 each and the capital as a whole £6.2bn.

In the top five ranking of the UK's most congested cities, London is followed by Manchester, Aberdeen, Birmingham and Edinburgh.

"Despite Brexit, 2016 saw the UK economy remaining stable, fuel prices staying low and employment growing to an 11-year high, all of which incentivises road travel and helped increase congestion as the 2016 Traffic Scorecard demonstrates," commented Graham Cookson, chief economist at Inrix. "The cost of this congestion is staggering, stripping the economy of billions, impacting businesses and costing consumers dearly. To tackle this problem, we must consider bold options such as remote working, wider use of road user charging and investment in big data to create more effective and intelligent transportation systems."

Full results of the 2016 Traffic Scorecard can be found at inrix.com/scorecard.

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