A closer look at the problem with traffic jams in the UK

Posted on 22 August 2018 by Tony Santos

Traffic information supplier, Inrix has revealed data that shows that motorists across the UK spend an average 31 hours in traffic each year. Being in gridlock costs drivers £1,168 as a result, with wasted fuel and time, as well as higher freighting fees, all taken into account.
“There is no silver bullet to sorting out congestion. 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.” Rod Dennis, a spokesperson at the RAC says.

“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.”
What’s another solution? It could be for drivers to understand when and where is worst for traffic across the UK, in order to spot the places and times to avoid the roads. Audi dealer Vindis is on hand to help out:

Which area experiences the worst traffic in the UK?

It’s understood that you’re likely to get stuck in traffic if you’re driving around 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.
There are other cities that experience extreme congestion too. 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.

Moving away from cities, other areas of the country are also prone to traffic jams. 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:

  1.  A406 Northbound, Chiswick Roundabout to Hanger Lane, London. Drivers can expect to lose 73 hours per year on this route.
  2. A2 Eastbound, New Cross Gate to Prince Charles Road, London. Drivers can expect to lose 62 hours per year on this route.
  3. A3211 Eastbound, Westminster Bridge to London Bridge, London. Drivers can expect to lose 57 hours per year on this route.
  4. A102 Northbound, A2/Kidbrooke to Blackwall Tunnel, London. Drivers can expect to lose 51 hours per year on this route.
  5. A4200 Southbound, Russell Square to Aldwych, London. Drivers can expect to lose 50 hours per year on this route.
  6. A1 Southbound, College Gardens to Wallace Park, Belfast. Drivers can expect to lose 49 hours per year on this route.
  7. A308 Eastbound, Putney Bridge Approach to Sloane Square, London. Drivers can expect to lose 46 hours per year on this route.
  8. A431 Westbound, Bryants Hill to Lawrence Hill, Bristol. Drivers can expect to lose 45 hours per year on this route.
  9. A24 Northbound, Ormeau Road to Ann Street, Belfast. Drivers can expect to lose 45 hours per year on this route.
  10. A6 Northbound, Macclesfield Road to Heaton Lane, Manchester. Drivers can expect to lose 44 hours per year on this route.

Deciding when to drive

Of course, you should avoid rush hour when you can. 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.
It was Cambridge who came out top here, with 72 extra minutes added to a rush hour journey compared to the same route from A to B being completed 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:

  1. Cambridge — 72 extra minutes for a rush hour journey.
  2. Leeds — 51 extra minutes for a rush hour journey.
  3. Manchester — 47 extra minutes for a rush hour journey.
  4. Sheffield — 46 extra minutes for a rush hour journey.
  5. Edinburgh — 45 extra minutes for a rush hour journey.
  6. Birmingham — 43 extra minutes for a rush hour journey.
  7. Bristol — 43 extra minutes for a rush hour journey.
  8. Cardiff — 41 extra minutes for a rush hour journey.
  9. Aberdeen — 38 extra minutes for a rush hour journey.
  10. London — 38 extra minutes for a rush hour journey.

There are also certain routes which should be avoided to prevent sitting in traffic. According to Admiral’s data, the route from Dartford to Trafalgar Square around London is the nation’s most congested route. 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.

Aside from the UK’s capital, the UK’s most congested routes were 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).

Admiral’s Motor Product Manager, Jo Cox, comments: “The figures do bring home the potential time that could be saved if you travel outside of peak times. 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.”

Seasonality

You might have noticed that traffic is worse at certain times of the year.

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.

Also in 2017, earlier in the year, the RAC was also warned motorists that they can expect delays if heading out on the roads during the first couple of weeks of that year’s school 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.

Keeping these facts in mind could help drivers reduce the stress of being behind the wheel, as well as cut the amount of time they face in traffic jams drastically.

Sources:
https://www.rac.co.uk/drive/news/motoring-news/drivers-spend-31-hours-in-traffic-per-year/
https://www.independent.co.uk/travel/news-and-advice/traffic-jam-uk-hotspots-driving-rac-cars-motorways-m5-m6-a8006996.html
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-42917201
https://www.admiral.com/magazine/features-and-competitions/most-congested-cities
https://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/news/cambridge-news/cambridge-congestion-traffic-drivers-delays-14471939
https://www.cornwalllive.com/news/local-news/traffic-experts-reveal-best-worst-959029
https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/830087/traffic-news-summer-holiday-UK-chaos-worst-times-to-travel

Categorized | Car Tips

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