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UK morning rush hour traffic almost 10% worse than 2010, TomTom reports

That’s according to new research by TomTom that also shows average congestion across the rest of Europe actually fell 3% over the same period.

The annual Traffic Index from TomTom shows morning rush hour is almost 10% more congested than in 2010, with the evening peak nearly a fifth (19%) worse – which TomTom says suggests that people return home in a narrower time period in the evenings.

The average commuter driving to and from work in the UK’s top 25 cities wasted 127 hours (more than 5 whole days) stuck in traffic during 2015.  

Congestion last year also rose in 17 of the 25 UK cities in the report, with a further four remaining about the same. Only Nottingham, Portsmouth, Middlesbrough and Preston showed slight decreases.  

Belfast was once again the most congested city in the UK – and 14th worst in the world.  Journey times in 2015 were 40% slower than free-flow traffic throughout the day – peaking at 86% longer in the evening rush hour.

London is the 20th most congested city worldwide – and second worst in the UK – with journey times 38% slower, rising to 66% in the evening peak. Manchester (37% slower) moves up into third place, overtaking Edinburgh (37%) and Brighton (34%).  

The next five worst cities for congestion are Hull, Bournemouth, Newcastle, Bristol and Sheffield.

Ralf-Peter Schaefer, vice-president of TomTom Traffic, said: “Building new motorways and ring roads doesn’t eliminate congestion. More must be done to better manage existing road space and to spread demand.  

“People simply aren’t doing enough to change their travel habits – such as working flexible hours, avoiding peak commuting times, making use of real–time traffic information and trying alternative travel modes.

“If only five per cent of us changed our travel plans, we could improve traffic congestion on our main roads by up to 30%.”

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for nearly 20 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day.