According to a study by traffic data firm Inrix, UK drivers are wasting an average of 31 hours in rush-hour traffic as data from last year shows.
The UK is the world’s 10th most congested country with London being Europe’s second most gridlocked city after Moscow.
The Department for Transport (DfT) have said that a record of £23 billion will be invested in road schemes to help reduce congestion levels.
Costs to individuals and businesses
The study took into account direct costs associated such as wasted time and fuel but also indirect costs. An example of this is the higher prices for household goods because of the increased freight fees, which end up affecting everyone whether you drive or not.
This means that businesses who need to transport goods across the country are potentially facing higher costs due to the time it takes to travel through congested areas.
The research found that London drivers spent an average of 74 hours in gridlock last year, with a cost of £2,430 attached to this.
Dr Graham Cookson, chief economist at Inrix has called for more innovative approaches to deal with the high costs associated with congestion.
“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,” he said.
Top congested areas
Inrix ranked the most congested areas by the number of hours wasted as well as the financial costs of congestion.
The top area was predictably London, followed by Manchester, Lincoln, Birmingham, Braintree, Bath, Luton, Guildford and Aberdeen. Drivers in Birmingham and Lincoln lost an average of 36 hours during rush hour.
The worst road to get stuck on was the A406 outer London ring road from the Chiswick roundabout to Hanger Lane, particularly during the evening rush hour.
Cookson said that at times, drivers in London were traveling an average of less than 13mph during peak times.
While it may not be possible for every place of work, one solution is to introduce flexible working or working from home to cut down on the amount of wasted time and money sat in traffic.
This is also particularly useful if, like during the recent snow storms, trains are cancelled and workers are struggling to come in. Being able to work from home saves the hassle of having to cover staff who are late or unable to show up.
While Cookson said that flexible working arrangements “have potential”, he also said that transport authorities should be looking at how they can improve things and how they can “promise to reinvent our approach to traffic management”.
How does congestion affect you or your place of work? Would you consider adopting flexible working policies? Let us know your thoughts.