The impact on the UK’s economy as a result of time wasted sitting in traffic jams could reach nearly £62 billion over the next ten years, a new report has claimed.
Research conducted by transport information firm Inrix revealed the UK is the worst country in Europe for traffic congestion, with more than 20,000 ‘hotspots’ identified across 21 cities, resulting in an overall economic cost of £61.8 billion.
This put the country far ahead of Germany, which was found to be the second-most impacted nation. Inrix identified around 8,500 hotspots across 27 German cities, for a total economic impact of £41.9 billion.
Overall, London was the most congested city, with the impact of traffic hotspots in the British capital some five times greater than that of Rome, which was the second-ranked city. London alone is responsible for £42 billion worth of economic impacts by 2025, while five of the country’s top ten hotspots were in the city.
However, it was Germany that had the continent’s worst individual trouble spots. The study identified Junction 29 of the A7 N in Hamburg and Junction 48 of the A8 W in Stuttgart as the worst locations in Europe, with each of these costing the country £1.1 billion by 2025.
Graham Cookson, chief economist at Inrix, said: “Only by identifying traffic hotspots and analysing their root causes can we effectively combat congestion. Some of the most effective traffic improvement measures have benefited from this approach, like Transport for London’s traffic signal optimisation work, which is reducing delays by 13 per cent and could save drivers £65 million a year.”
The research forecast that developments such as smart motorways will have a key role to play in helping reduce congestion in the coming years. In the UK, for instance, it highlighted the impact of all-lane running between junctions 5 and 7 of the M25, which has resulted in a 52 per cent decrease in the number of traffic jams.
In the year prior to the implementation of this solution, Inrix recorded an average of 343 jams per month, but this fell to just 165 in the year following the introduction of the smart motorway solutions.