10 most congested cities in Europe revealed

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Moscow has topped the list of the most congested cities in Europe for the second year in a row as experts warn there’s “no silver bullet” to erase congestion.

Inrix warns that there’s no “silver bullet” to erase congestion.

Revealed by traffic data analyst Inrix in its latest Global Traffic Scorecard, the research shows drivers in Moscow spent over 26% of their total drive time in congestion in 2017, including 91 hours at peak times alone. London (74 hours) was second among the 784 European cities analysed, followed by Paris (69 hours) in third.

Across the globe, Los Angeles was the world’s most gridlocked city, with drivers spending on average 102 peak hours in congestion in 2017, followed by Moscow and New York (both 91 hours), Sao Paulo (86 hours) and San Francisco (79 hours).

Analysis of historic Inrix data also revealed that congestion is growing over time and found that developed countries have many more cities but relatively low levels of congestion, whereas developing countries have a small number of very large and heavily contested cities.

But the research also identified a list of cities that are bucking the trend with significant reductions in congestion since last year’s study. Across the US, several Texan cities saw significant improvements, including El Paso (-13%), Austin (-9%) and Dallas (-9%). In Europe, Scottish cities have made significant improvements from 2016 with Aberdeen, Glasgow and Edinburgh reducing peak hours in congestion by 20%, 15% and 10% respectively. And Germany has also witnessed some major improvements. Heilbronn saw a 19% decrease from 45 to 38 hours per driver per year. A common theme among the most improved cities was that road improvement projects are finished, not only bringing improvement but also clearing congestion caused by the roadworks themselves.

Graham Cookson, Inrix chief economist and head of research, also said that applying big data to understand and combat congestion is crucial to the health and development of our cities as it warned that the causes of congestion are specific to the city and often the actual road, but added that the fundamental reason is an imbalance between the demand and supply for roads.

Cookson also said that fleets could help with tackling congestion alongside road planners.

Cookson added: “Managing demand for road space is critical. That includes smoothing demand through flexible working, avoiding peak hour trips through remote working, ride sharing and encouraging the efficient use of our roads through wider adoption of road user pricing. At the same time, cities and highways agencies must optimise the road network. That includes embracing Intelligent Transport Solutions such as dynamic traffic lights, the wider use of all lane running on motorways and the efficient planning of road works.”

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.