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Urban gridlock costs economy £4.4bn

Tue, 17 Dec 2013

GRIDLOCK in urban areas is costing car-commuting households £4.4 billion a year, according to a report.

Congestion in London accounts for £2 billion of the overall annual cost, the report by traffic information company Inrix and the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) showed.

The report was compiled by studying congestion in the UK's 18 largest urban areas. It was found that the average British driver spent 40 hours a year stuck in jams, with the average for London drivers being as high as 80 hours.

The overall cost figure was made up from the direct cost of fuel wasted (£441 million), the direct cost of commuter time wasted in traffic (£2.79 billion) and the indirect cost to household bills (£1.19 billion).

The household bills figure was compiled from higher freight and business fees as a result of company vehicles being stuck in traffic, with the additional costs being passed on to households.

As well as London, the urban areas in the study included Belfast, Birmingham, Bradford-Leeds, Bristol, Cardiff, Coventry, Edinburgh and Glasgow.

The rest of the areas were Kingston-upon-Hull, Leicester, Liverpool, , Manchester, Newcastle upon Tyne, Nottingham, Portsmouth, Sheffield and Stoke-on-Trent.

Inrix European director Matt Simmons said: "Millions commute to work by car every day and these findings expose the significant economic impact gridlock is having on the UK economy.

"Congestion is reducing productivity, leaving commuters with higher bills and less time, as well as damaging the environment. With debates around HS2 and the UK's transport infrastructure, it is time to take action."

By utilising 'big data' to make sense of traffic intelligence on vehicle movement, bottlenecks and congestion, Britain can address the challenges facing its road network and the millions that depend upon it."

By Peter Woodman, Press Association