London remains Europe’s most traffic-crowded city, third worldwide

London remains Europe's most traffic-crowded city, third worldwide
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London (Parliament News) – London remains the most traffic-crowded city in Europe and the third poorest globally, according to an annual survey.

How Does London’s Traffic Rank Globally and in Europe?

The Inrix global traffic scorecard for 2023 stated speeds in central London had dropped 10 per cent in a year to an average of 10mph. This suggested that regular drivers lost 99 hours a year stuck in traffic – an assessed £3.8bn loss to the economy.

It is the third year in a sequence that London has been called the most congested city in Europe. It stated the time lost due to road delays in London rose by two per cent in 2022.

Transport for London does not broadcast average speeds for car journeys but admits that average bus speeds have fallen to 9.3mph.

But TfL says that contrary to the Inrix data, roads are less crowded than in 2019 and that it has chosen to support the “movement of people” on streets, not just those in cars. Inrix, which examined data from almost 950 cities in 37 nations, said that New York was the worst world city for congestion, followed by Mexico City. The survey assesses the time lost to congestion and the severity of congestion.

What Are London’s Worst Traffic Congestion Hotspots?

London’s “most packed corridor” was the westbound A40 between the North Circular Road and Church Road/A312 junction in Greenford. A driver who operated this road at 3 pm daily would have lost 63 hours sitting in traffic. Other infamous congestion hotspots were the westbound A4 between Warwick Road in West Kensington and Wellesley Road in Chiswick, and the M4 east Heathrow interchange.

What Factors Make London Europe’s Most Congested City?

TfL states the number of delivery cars and minicabs are largely to blame for clogging up the roads, though many drivers blame schemes that have limited roads to create safe space for cyclists. More than 242 miles of TfL cycleways have been constructed across the city. Levels of car traffic have been further pre-pandemic levels for several years, while bus passenger numbers are in long-term reduction – primarily due to passengers getting stuck in traffic.

Inrix stated that the top 10 worst-affected towns and municipalities in the UK all saw an expansion in congestion and delays compared with 2022.

The average UK motorist lost 61 hours due to traffic congestion last year, up seven per cent in 2022. Bob Pishue, transportation critic and author of the report, stated: “We are seeing travel return to pre-COVID groups. The UK and Europe have seen smaller gains in congestion this year than in other parts of the world which suggests that these countries have found their new travel norms. While London remains most influenced by congestion in the UK, its drop to third means that other large global cities have returned to pre-COVID levels of activity. As an expression of strong economic activity, improved congestion can be a positive sign for cities.”   

RAC spokesperson Rod Dennis stated: “For a driver, every hour sat in congestion is another hour of worn time and, for most people, weakened fuel. Congestion can also lead to poor air rate. It’s incumbent for cities to discover ways to tackle it and not accept it as a given.”

Beth Malcolm

Beth Malcolm is Scottish based Journalist at Heriot-Watt University studying French and British Sign Language. She is originally from the north west of England but is living in Edinburgh to complete her studies.