UK drivers spend more than one day a year in traffic jams

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Drivers in the UK spend an average of 31 hours a year stuck in rush hour traffic, according to new research.

Gridlock at peak times cost UK motorists over £37.7bn in 2017, an average of £1,168 per driver, according to the latest Global Traffic Scorecard from Inrix. The figure includes direct costs -- the value of fuel and time wasted -- as well as indirect costs such as freighting and business fees from company vehicles idling in traffic which are passed on to consumers through higher prices.

"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 for 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."

The figures for 2017 show that London was the UK's worst city for congestion in peak hours, with drivers spending an average of 74 hours a year or 13% of their total drive time in congestion.

Speeds in the centre of the capital fell by 81% (20mph to 3.9mph) during daytime hours when congestion was at its worst, and by 83% (22mph to 3.7mph) in the evening during the worst periods.

Manchester was the second worst city for time spent in congestion during peak hours, with drivers losing 39 hours or an average of 10% of their total drive time stuck in traffic.

London also had the worst congestion rates at the weekend, with traffic jams taking up 13% of drive time, but weekend drivers cruised at their slowest (5.1mph) in Liverpool.

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