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Belfast and Bristol Lead UK Congestion Tables

By raccars Published

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According to recent research, the unfortunate residents of Belfast and Bristol are suffering from the UK's worst traffic congestion.

Sat-nav manufacturer, TomTom, conducts an annual congestion index, monitoring traffic in 161 cities worldwide. Results of its 2012 survey have named and shamed Belfast and Bristol in the UK, while Moscow is the worst city for congestion worldwide.

Figures are judged by comparing rates of traffic flow on average journey times with the same journey on completely clear roads. The extended journey length is expressed as a percentage increase over the free-flowing traffic base figure. Local and arterial roads and highways are all included in the survey data. Measurements are taken from capital cities, cities with a population greater than 800,000 heads and smaller towns that, nonetheless, affect transportation networks in their particular region.

The UK top five starts with Belfast, followed by Bristol, London, Leeds and Nottingham. In Belfast, the average journey takes 32.1% longer than it would versus free-flowing traffic, while journey times at rush hour shoot up to a massive 71% longer than they would on clear roads. Bristol's average journey is 31% longer than the same journey on clear roads. At peak morning times, traffic delays increase by 56%, then 64% during peak evening hours. In real terms, this means that a journey of 60 minutes on clear roads takes 98 minutes during the evening rush hour.

The UK's next entries on the list are taken by Manchester, Sheffield, Birmingham, Liverpool, Newcastle and Glasgow.

However, this all pales in comparison to a number of other international destinations. Drivers in the world's most congested city, Moscow, find journeys undertaken even at off-peak times take 66% longer than they would on clear roads, while morning rush hour journey times are extended by 106%.

Istanbul is the second most congested city in the world, with average journey times 55% longer than through free-flowing traffic, followed by Warsaw at 42%, Marseille at 40%, Palermo at 39%, then Los Angeles, Sydney, Stuttgart, Paris and Rome all at 33%. The top ten is rounded out by Hamburg and Brussels at 32%.

2012's figures show the European cities experiencing the greatest increases in congestion over the past year were Leeds-Bradford, Istanbul and Moscow, while drivers in Bern, Malaga and Warsaw have benefited from decreased congestion over the past 12 months, compared to statistics shown by 2011's survey.

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