UK tops list of most traffic-congested EU cities

M25 Image copyright PA

British roads are the most congested in Europe, a study of traffic in more than 100 EU cities suggests.

Data company Inrix monitored traffic on every road in 123 cities, including London, Cardiff, Paris and Hamburg.

It found more than 20,300 so-called "traffic hotspots" in UK cities - well over double the number in Germany and twice that of France.

The government recently pledged to spend an extra £1.3bn on targeting congestion on roads.

In Inrix's analysis, a road becomes a "traffic hotspot" once congestion forces drivers to drop their speed by 65% for at least two minutes.

Inrix collected traffic information from car sat-navs, mobile phones and road sensors throughout September 2016.

It covered individual cities with populations of 250,000 or more, rather than whole countries, but found pinch points in:

  1. UK: 21 cities with 20,375 traffic hotspots
  2. Germany: 27 cities with 8,517 traffic hotspots
  3. Italy: 12 cities with 5,069 traffic hotspots
  4. France: nine cities with 1,844 traffic hotspots
  5. Spain: 16 cities with 2,335 traffic hotspots

Researchers suggested that the worst stretch of road overall is Junction 29 of Hamburg's A7 motorway in Germany.

In the UK, drivers on the M25 or the A720 Edinburgh bypass are those most likely to reach gridlock.

"It's the unfortunate reality of a densely populated and global city," said Graham Cookson, Inrix's chief economist, author of the research.

"A quarter of a million of us drive on the M25 every day."

Ten UK cities with congestion, and their worst "hotspots"

  1. London: M25 northbound between junctions 15 and 16
  2. Edinburgh: A720 westbound Edinburgh Bypass at Dreghorn Barracks
  3. Glasgow: Eastbound junction of the A8 Glasgow and Edinburgh Road with the M8
  4. Birmingham: Northbound junction of the A38 (M) with the M6
  5. Manchester: M60 northbound at junction 1 for the A6 Stockport
  6. Bristol: M5 southbound at junction 20 for Clevedon
  7. Leeds: Westbound M62 junction 26 with M606 junction 1
  8. Cardiff: A48 westbound at Riverside Park
  9. Bradford: From the A650 in the city centre to the A6038 Otley Road
  10. Belfast: A12 eastbound at the junction with the M2 and M3

Source: Inrix

But there is hope for drivers dreading the commute from hell, Mr Cookson adds.

An extra £1.3bn will be spent on improving Britain's roads, the Chancellor Philip Hammond announced in the Autumn Statement on 23 November.

The roads investment will include £220m to tackle "pinch-points" on Highways England roads.

"Money is coming in for the first time in a while, hopefully this will be used to alleviate the worst areas," Mr Cookson said.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said the government was investing "record amounts" into improving roads.

"This investment is over and above the £23bn we are spending to get motorists to their destinations quickly, more easily and safely," he said.

He said the government schemes that have been announced were "focused on relieving congestion and providing important upgrades to ensure our roads are fit for the future".

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