The most congested roads in the UK
Filed under: Motoring
However, the average figure obscures some truly terrible speeds. So where are the most congested roads, and where are the least congested ones?
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London commuter hellPerhaps unsurprisingly inner London emerged as the most congested, and was the only area at the beginning of the year where traffic was getting slower. Impressively the fast-moving City of London has an average speed of just 9.2 miles an hour - marginally slower than cycling.
However, it was far from alone. Among the worst areas were Reading, Slough, Bristol and Kingston upon Hull, where average speeds were still well below 20 miles an hour.
Motoring advice & info
Clearly the main reason for this is that these areas weren't built for the weight of traffic they face. Some, such as London, are dealing with a deluge of vehicles from around the country all trying to squeeze into a few square miles. Meanwhile somewhere like Bristol is dealing with geographical boundaries which means the only solution to a mounting traffic problem has been a tortuous one-way system and a park and ride scheme.
Others, meanwhile, offer few alternatives to the car. Slough, for example, is surrounded by areas where commuters have no other option than to drive into town - and queue all the way.
By contrast Rutland in the East Midlands is home to plenty of countryside, with many smaller towns and rural areas where it is customary to walk to work or live on the premises. There just aren't the same sorts of numbers of commuters to worry about - even in the middle of the morning rush hour.
The costsAnd while sitting in your car is both desperately irritating and pointlessly time-consuming, it can be horribly expensive too. First, there is the waste of time. A survey by Continental Tyres found that the average driver will spend 12 minutes of the average 41 minutes round trip to work in traffic. Separate statistics show that traffic jams cost the economy £5 billion every year in lost productivity.
Then there is the wasted fuel. One Canadian study found that for the average vehicle with a 3-litre engine, every 10 minutes of idling costs one half of a litre of wasted fuel. Meanwhile a study from the Texas Transport Institute found that the average American was wasting $713 a year because of traffic. As the price of fuel at the pumps sticks stubbornly close to record levels, the cost is going to be increasingly painful.
Developments like stop-start technology will help bring down the waste, and if you can arrange a car share, or to cycle every other day, you can cut your own bill in half. But by far the most effective way to cut the cost is to stay at home instead - and work from the kitchen table. The only question is whether your boss will let you.
Fastest average speeds1. Rutland, East Midlands - 41.4mph
2. Telford and Wrekin, West Midlands - 39.3mph
3. Thurrock, East - 37.6mph
4. Peterborough, East - 37.3mph
5. North Lincolnshire, Yorkshire and the Humber - 36.2mph
Slowest average speeds1. Inner London, London - 12.8mph
2. Reading, South East - 14.2mph
3. Slough, South East - 15.0mph
4. Bristol, South West - 15.3mph
5. Kingston upon Hull, Yorkshire and the Humber - 16.5mph
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