Earlier this month the UK climbed one place to become the fifth most congested country in Europe, with the average driver spending 30 hours in congestion every year. The increase in traffic on roads has now been directly linked to how well UK PLC is performing.
Last year the UK economy grew by 2.8%, which was faster than any other major developed European country and double the European average. Also, due to the economy recovering, levels of unemployment also decreased last year by 21%.
The increase in consumer spending has led to a rise in private and commercial vehicles as well as more people commuting to work by car. This combined with a spurring of national road works and construction campaigns has led to a growth in congestion.
Furthermore, population growth and urbanisation are key drivers to an increase in congestions and last year the UKâ€™s population grew by 491,100, reaching a record high. London was one of the worst affected areas, with residents being stuck in traffic for an average of 96 hours â€“ thatâ€™s the equivalent to nine working days stuck in traffic!
The A217, a 10 mile stretch of road in London, was named the busiest road for congestion, however, congestion as a whole increased in 77% of the UKâ€™s cities with Manchester closely following London for the worst traffic in the UK.
Garrett Emmerson, TFL (Transport for London) Londonâ€™s Chief Operations Office commented on the congestion within London and stated: â€œWe are seeing unprecedented increases in population and this, combined with strong economic growth creates more traffic. Thatâ€™s why we invest every penny in improving the capital’s transport network, including an unprecedented Â£4 billion pounds over the next few years to transform junctions, bridges, tunnels, cycling lanes and pedestrian areas.â€
Other authorities have announced they will trial stricter traffic control measures in a bid to tackle congestion as well as lower air pollution in the UKâ€™s most congested cities.
Recognising the UK has a congestion problem can only be a good thing, especially when authorities are taking measure to rectify the situation. As a driving agency it is not uncommon for our drivers to come across traffic. Letâ€™s just hope that by this time next year we wonâ€™t be that one step closer to becoming the most congested country in Europe.