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UK’s most congested cities revealed

Congestion became ‘significantly worse’ over the last 12 months, according to TomTom.

Sat nav and mapping data provider TomTom has revealed the results of its fourth annual Traffic Index. The good news is that two cities have seen a reduction in traffic congestion. The bad news is that journeys are taking longer on average in 2014 than they did in 2013.

Traffic: The bane of a good drive
Traffic: The bane of a good drive

The results show the average journey in 2014 takes 27 per cent longer than it would if traffic was free-flowing, up from a 26 per cent delay in 2012. TomTom said the average British resident now spends 10 working days a year in traffic every year instead of nine days.

Bristol and Leeds-Bradford were the only examples in the top 10 most congested cities to see an improvement in the situation. Birmingham, Brighton, Glasgow, London, Liverpool, Manchester and Southampton were among the cities to become worse.

Belfast remains the worst offender in the UK, with evening peak journeys during the working week taking 75 per cent longer than off-peak. Morning journeys took an additional 78 per cent longer. The most congested day in 2013 was Friday the 18th of January.

London retained second place, with an average congestion score of 34 per cent and morning and evening peak at 60 and 66 per cent, respectively. For every hour of traffic driven at a peak period, the delay was an additional 36 minutes. Friday the 24th of May was the most congested day in the capital in 2013.

The south-west city of Bristol remained in fourth place even though it saw a drop in congestion. The average 30 minute commute was found to result in 84 hours of delay per year. Bristol’s busiest day was Sat the 10th of August, 2013.

Sheffield saw the greatest increase in congestion over the last year. It scored an increase of four per cent, taking the average to 26 per cent. Leicester saw an increase of three per cent year-on-year, up to 25 per cent.

“Traffic congestion is nothing new, and continues to be a global challenge. The traditional responses to congestion – such as building new roads or widening existing ones – are no longer proving to be effective,” TomTom CEO Harold Goddijn commented.

“Real time traffic information can help drivers find the quickest shortcut on their journey, and assist governments to make smarter decisions to improve traffic flow for their cities,” he added.

TomTom’s Traffic Index analyses ten trillion pieces of data across 180 cities in six continents. Moscow is still the world’s most congested city, scoring an average of 74 per cent. Evening journeys through the week at peak time take an additional 141 per cent.

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