Traffic Congestion Cost UK Motorists over £37.7 Billion in 2017

Traffic Congestion Cost UK Motorists over £37.7 Billion in 2017

INRIX today published the INRIX 2017 Global Traffic Scorecard, an analysis of 1,360 cities across 38 countries – the largest ever study of congestion. The UK ranked as the 10th most congested country in the world and the 3rd most congested in Europe, with drivers spending an average of 31 hours a year in congestion during peak hours. The direct and indirect costs of congestion to all UK motorists amounted to over £37.7 billion in 2017, an average of £1,168 per driver.

In the UK, the INRIX 2017 Global Traffic Scorecard analysed congestion in 111 cities and towns. London remained the UK’s most congested major city for the 10th year in a row, ranked 2nd in Europe after Moscow and 7th in the world overall. Drivers in London spent an average of 74 hours in gridlock during peak hours, an increase of one hour since last year. This contributed to congestion costing London drivers £2,430 a year each and the capital as a whole £9.5 billion from direct and indirect costs. Direct costs relate to the value of fuel and time wasted, while indirect costs relate to freighting and business fees from company vehicles idling in traffic that are passed on to the household bills through higher prices.

Along with the capital, Manchester, Birmingham, Luton and Edinburgh made up the UK’s five most major congested cities. Drivers in Manchester spent 39 hours in congestion during peak hours, and 10% of their total drive time (peak and non-peak hours) in gridlock. This in turn cost each driver £1,403, and the city £345 million. Motorists in Birmingham spent over 9% of their total drive time in congestion last year, costing the city £632 million.

Combined with the rising price of motoring, the cost of congestion is astonishing – it takes billions out of the economy and impacts businesses and individuals alike,” said Dr. Graham Cookson, Chief Economist, INRIX. “With the Office of National Statistics showing more cars on the road than ever before, we need to consider innovative new approaches to solving the issue. Increased flexible working or road charges have potential, however, transport authorities should be looking to exciting developments in data analytics and AI which promise to reinvent our approach to traffic management.”

Table 1: INRIX 2017 Traffic Scorecard – UK’s 10 Most Congested Major Cities / Large Urban Areas

Rank City Peak Hours Spent in Congestion INRIX Congestion Index Average Congestion Rate  Total Cost per Driver  Total Cost to the City
1 London 74 14.1 13% £2,430 £9.5bn
2 Manchester 39 6.8 10% £1,403 £345m
3 Birmingham 36 6.3 9% £1,281 £632m
4 Luton 29 5.2 11% £1,143 £102m
5 Edinburgh 28 5 9% £1,155 £309m
6= Bournemouth 27 5.6 11% £1,225 £121m
6= Bristol 27 4.7 9% £1,028 £225m
8 Newcastle 24 4.2 7% £991 £139m
9 Coventry 23 3.9 7% £905 £140m
10 Liverpool 20 4.1 9% £1,101 £273m

INRIX 2017 Traffic Scorecard Provides In-Depth City Congestion Analysis

Collected from 300 million connected cars and devices, data included in the 2017 INRIX Global Traffic Scorecard reveals congestion at different times of the day and across different parts of the road network. For example, the report shows traffic in city centres compared to vehicles coming in and out of a city, as well as the differences in congestion experienced across peak and off-peak hours, and at weekends. Insights for the UK include:

Peak Congestion Insights

  • London was the worst city for congestion in the UK in peak hours, with drivers spending an average of 13% of their total drive time in congestion.
  • Manchester was the second worst city for time spent in congestion during peak hours, with drivers spending 39 peak hours in gridlock and an average of 10% of their total drive time stuck in traffic.

City Centre Insights

  • Peak hours in Central London were the worst time and place for drivers in the capital, where they spent an average of 23% of their time in congestion at an average speed of just under 5 mph.
  • Of all the major UK city centres, London was the busiest to get around during peak hours.
  • Speeds fell by 81% (20 mph to 3.9 mph) in the centre of London during daytime hours when congestion was at its worst, and by 83% (22 mph to 3.7 mph) in the evening during the worst periods.

Driving in to and out of City Insights

  • Travelling into and out of London at peak hours, drivers spent 16% of their time in congestion with an average speed of 12.8 mph.
  • Manchester joins London as the hardest city to get into or out of during peak hours, with drivers also stuck in gridlock for 16% of the time.

Business Impact

  • Businesses suffered the most from traffic in London with daytime congestion within the city occurring 17% of the time on average.
  • Businesses in the city centres of Luton and Edinburgh also suffered from congestion, with drivers sitting in traffic 12% of the time during the day.

Weekend Insights

  • London had the highest weekend congestion rates of 13% of drive time, but drivers cruised at their slowest (5.1 mph) in Liverpool.

Britain’s Most Congested Roads

As part of the 2017 Global Traffic Scorecard, INRIX identified the UK’s most congested roads as well as the worst time to travel. London roads were busiest during the evening rush-hour, with the A406 from Chiswick Roundabout to Hanger Lane identified as the UK’s most congested road. Motorists there spent a total of 56 hours in congestion in 2017. Outside of the capital, the A34 from Robin Hood Lane in Birmingham was the most congested road – the 4th worst congested in the UK – with drivers each spending 44 hours in gridlock last year.

Table 2: INRIX 2017 Global Traffic Scorecard – London’s Top 5 Most Congested Roads in 2017

Rank Road From To Worst Peak Period Total Hours of Delay (p.p.p.a)
1 A406 A205 Chiswick Roundabout A40 Hangar Lane PM 56
2 A23 Kennington Park Norbury Station PM 50
3 A4200/A4 Russell Square New Fetter Lane AM 47
4 Earls Court Road Kensington High St A308 AM 42
5 A406 Finchley Road Colney Hatch Lane PM 42

Table 3: INRIX 2017 Global Traffic Scorecard –Top 10 UK Most Congested Roads outside of London in 2017

Rank City Road From To Worst Peak Period Total Hours of Delay (p.p.p.a)
1 Birmingham A34 Robin Hood Lane A41 PM 44
2 Birmingham A34 A4540 A41 PM 42
3 Leeds A657 A658 Victoria Street PM 40
4 Leeds A638 B6117 A644 PM 36
5 Manchester A56 Northumberland St A6044 PM 33
6 Newcastle A19 A189 A191 PM 33
7 Belfast A1 Bruce St A512 PM 32
8 Manchester A6 A523 B6171 PM 32
9 Birmingham A461 New Road A4123 PM 32
10 Manchester A580/A6 Blackfriars Road Worsley Road PM 30

UK vs. Europe: How do we Measure Up?

Of the 784 European cities analysed, Moscow topped the list as the most congested in Europe for the second year in a row, where drivers spent 91 hours last year in traffic congestion at peak hours. Drivers in Moscow spent over 26% of their total drive time (peak and non-peak hours) in congestion. London (74 hours) is second on the list of Europe’s most congested major cities, followed by Paris (69 hours), Istanbul (59 hours) with Krasnodar (57 hours) rounding out the top five.

Table 4: INRIX 2017 Global Traffic Scorecard – 10 Most Congested Major Cities in Europe in 2017

Rank City Country Peak Hours Spent in Congestion INRIX Congestion Index Average Congestion Rate
1 Moscow Russia 91 20.1 32%
2 London UK 74 14.1 20%
3 Paris France 69 13.1 21%
4 Istanbul Turkey 59 12.2 25%
5 Krasnodar Russia 57 12.4 31%
6 Saint Petersburg Russia 54 11.6 26%
7 Zurich Switzerland 51 9.2 29%
8 Munich Germany 51 9.1 27%
9 Sochi Russia 48 10.9 28%
10 Nizhny Novgorod Russia 48 10.2 26%

How the UK Compares to Cities & Countries Worldwide

At the global city level, Los Angeles topped the list of the world’s most gridlock cities, with drivers spending on average 102 peak hours in congestion in 2017, followed by Moscow (91 hours), New York (91 hours), Sao Paulo (86 hours) and San Francisco (83 hours). London ranked 7th out of the 1,360 cities analysed, after Bogota at 6th where drivers spent 75 peak hours in congestion last year.

Table 5: INRIX 2017 Global Traffic Scorecard – 10 Most Congested Cities in the World in 2017

2017 Rank


(2016 Rank)

Global City Country Continent 2017 Peak Hours Spent in Congestion Percentage of Total Drive Time in Congestion (peak and non-peak hours)
1 (1) Los Angeles USA North America 102 12.2%
2 (2) Moscow Russia Europe 91 25.8%
2 (3) New York USA North America 91 12.5%
4 (5) Sao Paulo Brazil South America 86 21.9%
5 (4) San Francisco USA North America 79 12.0%
6 (6) Bogota Colombia South America 75 30.4%
7 (7) London UK Europe 74 13.1%
8 (8) Atlanta USA North America 70 10.0%
9 (9) Paris France Europe 79 12.9%
10 (11) Bangkok Thailand Asia 64 23%

Of the 38 countries covered by the INRIX 2017 Global Traffic Scorecard, Thailand lead with the highest average hours spent in peak congestion (56 in 2017), outranking Indonesia (51 hours) and Columbia (49 hours), followed by Venezuela (42) and joint 5th was USA and Russia on 42 hours. The UK was 10th in the global ranking, 3rd amongst developed nations, and the 3rd most congested in Europe behind Russia and Turkey.

Table 6: INRIX 2017 Global Traffic Scorecard – 10 Most Congested Countries in the World in 2017

2017 Rank
(2016 Rank)
Country Continent
(Europe Ranking)
2017 Peak Hours Spent in Congestion
1 (1) Thailand Asia 56
2 (2) Indonesia Asia 51
3 (2) Colombia South America 49
4 (6) Venezuela South America 42
5 (4) Russia Europe (1) 41
5 (5) USA North America 41
7 (8) Brazil South America 36
8 (7) South Africa Africa 36
9 (10) Turkey Europe (2) 32
10 (11) UK Europe (3) 31

Good data is the first step in tackling congestion. Applying big data to create intelligent transportation systems will be key to solving urban mobility problems. INRIX data and analytics on traffic, parking and population movement help city planners and engineers make data-based decisions to prioritize spending in order to maximize benefits and reduce costs now and for the future.

The key findings of the INRIX 2017 Traffic Scorecard provide a quantifiable benchmark for governments and cities across the world to measure progress to improve urban mobility and track the impact of spending on smart city initiatives.

Please visit for:

  • Full INRIX 2017 Global Traffic Scorecard report including all rankings for the UK, Europe and globally.
  • Complete methodology.
  • Interactive webpage with data and information for all 1,360 cities and 38 countries.
  • UK and global infographics.


INRIX smart parking solutions get real-time parking information to drivers on the go, curbing traffic before it starts. INRIX Parking also provides cities with actionable information they can use to improve parking management and policies. 

We engage cities, automakers, private parking operators, and parking equipment makers to create the ultimate parking experience for drivers. By combining raw data from existing parking infrastructure with acquired data from more than 300 million connected devices, we can guide drivers to the best available parking options.


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