London's roads were today ranked the most congested in Europe for the third year in a row, with drivers in the capital spending an average of 99 hours sitting in traffic.

The total for Mayor Sadiq Khan's city in 2023 was up from 97 hours in 2022 and above any other city in Europe - behind only New York and Mexico City worldwide.

The length of time lost to jams in London last year was also 3 per cent above pre-coronavirus levels, according to the report by traffic information supplier Inrix.

The total cost to London of congestion was said to have been £3.8billion, averaging £902 per driver. For the UK as whole it was £7.5billion, up £718million from 2022.

It comes as motorists in London continue to endure low traffic neighbourhoods and 20mph speed limits in addition to the wider Ulez charging zone since last August. 

The Inrix report also stated that a typical driver in the UK lost 61 hours due to traffic jams in 2023, a 7 per cent rise from 57 hours in the previous 12 months. In addition, London was found to now account for around 50 per cent of all UK traffic delays.

Transportation analyst Bob Pishue, who authored the report, said: 'We are seeing travel return to pre-Covid levels.

'The UK and Europe have seen smaller increases in congestion this year than in other parts of the world which indicates that these countries have found their new travel norms.

'While London remains most impacted by congestion in the UK, its drop to third suggests that other large global cities have returned to pre-Covid levels of activity.

'As an indication of strong economic activity, increased congestion can be a positive sign for cities.'

The data is compiled for what Inrix describes as a 'Global Traffic Scorecard' which identifies and ranks congestion in nearly 950 cities across 37 countries based on an 'Impact Ranking' which examines the influence of congestion relative to population.

2023 UK Rank (2022 Rank) Urban Area 2023 Delay (2022) Compared to Pre-Covid 2023 Cost per Driver 2023 Cost per City City Center Speed (mph) Q1 2024 Change
1 (1) London 99 (97) +3% £902 £3.8bn 10 -10%
2 (2) Birmingham 60 (55) +3% £547 £293m 16 -5%
3 (4) Bristol 62 (53) -7% £565 £123m 14 -2%
4 (3) Leeds 59 (52) -2% £538 £199m 16 -5%
5 (5) Wigan 61 (52) +5% £556 £85m 14 0%
6 (9) Bath 67 (56) -9% £611 £26m 12 -4%
7 (8) Chelmsford 60 (53) +8% £547 £45m 19 -1%
8 (11) Manchester 54 (47) 0% £492 £126m 14 -2%
9 (12) Hertford-Harlow 61 (54) -13% £556 £312m n/a -7%
10 (6) Burton upon Trent 62 (59) 2% £565 £19m 17 -4%

London topped this scorecard in Europe for 2023, and placed third globally. In 2022, the capital was the world's second most congested city.

After London, the UK's most congested urban areas were Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds and Wigan.

Also in the top ten were Bath, Chelmsford, Manchester, Hertford-Harlow and Burton upon Trent. 

Analysts added that a driver who took London's most congested corridor – the westbound A40 between the North Circular and Church Road - every day at the 3pm peak hour would have lost 63 hours sitting in traffic in one year.

The busiest corridor in Birmingham, the second most-congested urban area in the UK, was the A34 southbound from Camp Hill Circus to the A4040. At 3pm on the weekday drivers lose about eight minutes a day, or 34 hours annually.

The areas of Sheffield and Rochester fell out of the UK top ten from 2022, now at 11th and 14th respectively, while Manchester and Hertford-Harlow both moved up three spots to 8th and 9th.

Road Name From To Peak Hour 2023 Peak Minutes Lost 2023 Hours Lost
A40 W North Circular Road Church Road 3pm 16 63
A4 W Warwick Road Wellesley Road 4pm 14 57
M4 E Heathrow Interchange Clayponds Lane 7am 14 57
Road Name From To Peak Hour 2023 Peak Minutes Lost 2023 Hours Lost
A34 S Camp Hill Circus A4040 3pm 8 34
A435 S Haden Circus Taylor Road 3pm 8 33
A441 S Belgrave Interchange Watford Road 3pm 8 32
Road Name From To Peak Hour 2023 Peak Minutes Lost 2023 Hours Lost
Muller Road East A38 Whitehall Road 3pm 8 31
A420 E Lawrence Hill Roundabout Kingswood Park 2pm 6 25
A4174 E A38 A37 3pm 5 19

Inrix said the UK saw traffic congestion grow in 2023 and reach pre-Covid levels, which was the same trend seen in the US and Germany.

However London's 2 per cent increase in congestion was lower than cities in the global top 25, which Inrix said suggested that the capital rebounded from the effects of Covid sooner and other cities are now catching up.

London is also the only UK city in the global top 25 cities.

Despite all seeing growth in congestion, Birmingham, Leeds and Wigan fell in the impact rankings as congestion in other cities grew faster.

A spokeswoman for Mr Khan told MailOnline: 'London has made trailblazing efforts to reduce congestion levels and help people travel more sustainably.

2023 Impact Rank (2022 Rank) Urban Area Country 2023 Delay per Driver (hours) Change from 2022 Change from Pre-Covid Downtown Speed (mph) Q1 2024 Change
1 (1) New York City, NY USA 101 -4% 11% 11 -11%
2 (4) Mexico City MEX 96 13% -11% 12 -5%
3 (2) London UK 99 2% 3% 10 -10%
4 (3) Paris FRA 97 4% 1% 10 -3%
5 (5) Chicago, IL USA 96 10% 18% 11 -8%
6 (6) Istanbul TUR 91 12% 20% 13 5%
7 (7) Los Angeles CA USA 89 13% -4% 19 -5%
8 (8) Boston, MA USA 88 14% -1% 10 -10%
9 (9) Houston, TX USA 83 12% 1% 17 -1%
10 (13) Cape Town ZAF 83 32% -10% 12 7%

'Roadworks are the biggest cause of delays in cities – which is why the Mayor's Infrastructure Coordination Service is working with boroughs and utility companies to deliver the pioneering Lane Rental Scheme, helping to save London road users over 1,250 days of roadworks since 2019.'

She added that London was also the first city in the world to implement a Congestion Charge, saying this reduced congestion by 30 per cent and 'avoided millions of car journeys'.

The spokeswoman continued: 'We are also investing in a high-quality public transport network, and a network of cycleways and school streets, to make it easier for Londoners to leave the car at home and travel sustainably, keeping roads clear for those who have no choice but to drive.

'Through all these measures, we're delivering a greener, healthier, and more efficient London for everyone.'

Transport for London, for which Mr Khan is the chair, was also contacted for comment. 

Also today, a separate study found tiny particles emitted by planes are putting millions of people across the UK at risk of serious health conditions.

Environmental group Transport & Environment (T&E) said about six million people - around 9 per cent of the UK population - that live within a 20km radius of London Gatwick, Stansted, Heathrow and Manchester airports are being exposed to 'ultrafine particles' (UFPs) from aviation.

UFPs are below the size of 100 nanometres in diameter - approximately 1,000 times smaller than a human hair - and can penetrate deeply into the human body, having been found in the blood, brain and even placentas.

In Europe as a whole, 52 million people are affected by the 32 busiest airports, according to findings from the study carried out by Dutch consultancy CE Delft on behalf of T&E which was released today.

Read more

2024-06-25T13:07:22Z dg43tfdfdgfd