London’s traffic is the worst in Europe – here’s how bad it is

UK capital hits the top spot

London drivers spent an average of 96 hours in traffic jams last year – a 17% rise on the previous year.

2014 saw London hit number one on the list of Europe’s most congested cities, after coming in second to Brussels in 2013, and third in 2012.

But what’s responsible for the rise?

It’s down to London’s population growth, an increase in construction projects and a boom in online shopping, which boosts the number of delivery vans on the road, according to Inrix, which carried out the study.

To add to this, about 30% of the traffic in London is caused by drivers looking for parking.

Research by the same company last year found congestion was costing the London economy $8.5bn in 2013.

London’s problem is a shortage of space, it seems. Other cities are able to build more roads to ease congestion – however, with its narrow roads and old buildings, London is not able to take advantage of this.

Garrett Emmerson, chief operating officer for roads at Transport for London told the FT: “We do not have the grand boulevards of Paris. We are a medieval city in many ways, certainly in central London.”

Tackling the cost of public transport in London could be one way of reducing traffic on the roads, however Emmerson said it is not that simple.

“Everywhere you look, networks are full.

“What it needs is continued investment so we can keep up with demand.”

TfL is working on improving London’s roads. It started a £4bn road improvement programme earlier this year.

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Readers' comments (1)

  • "What it needs is continued investment so we can keep up with demand.”

    or more correctly a reduction in the population - which is what is really required.

    Sustainable 'green' population is about 20-30% of current population yet we are doing the exact opposite!

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