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Using the idea that there’s always someone worse off than you, based on rush hour commuting to cities figures released from 2011, only 3 European countries have worse rush hour traffic than the UK.
Surprisingly Italy is only 3rd (I’ve been to Rome and it was a nightmare, especially with the scooters) and Belgium is actually 1st (dr9vers waste 55 hours a year in traffic). But personally I was more shocked that Holland, land of the cycle, is second. Maybe the grass isn’t greener?
Enough of them; what about us here in the UK?
Overall, we waste on average 32 hours a year sat in traffic jams – although this is 4 hours a year down on 2010.
And it is in some of our largest cities that the figures are higher. Top of the shop is unsurprisingly the London Commuter belt with 66 hours, closely followed by Greater Manchester (45) and Liverpool (39). Timewise the worst per city is Friday 4pm – 5pm (London), Tuesday 9am - 10am (Greater Manchester) and Wednesday 4pm – 5pm (Liverpool). I can understand Fridays in London but why those days of the week in the other areas?
All 18 UK cities that were analysed had fewer jams than 2010 with Friday generally being the worst day and Tuesday the worst morning, but apparently it’s best to travel on a Monday to avoid congestion.
And when it comes to non-commuting congestion, such as holiday travelling, according to the Road Users Alliance (RUA) in their report Road Users 2011: “Britain now has what is one of the poorest motorway networks in Europe while the nation’s other trunk roads are woefully inadequate – and matters are going to get worse.”
Not the best news if you are planning a ‘staycation’ this year in the UK. Getting there will probably be the usual mix of jams, roadworks and backseat moaning and “Are we there yets”.
In the report, the RUA found that the growth in the number of vehicles between 1999 and 2000 was 21% whilst the road network only grew 1%. Britain lags behind Europe when it comes to motorway miles. We have 3670km of motorway while Italy, France and Germany have more than 10,000km: a fact that actually means nothing as all those countries are actually larger than the UK.
But it is interesting that the report also highlights the problems that a lack of investment in the UK’s motorways could cause.
It states that businesses could lose up to 656 million man-hours by 2025 if the situation does not improve, and that is not going to happen unless Government plans change from their frozen spending. Tim Green, director of the RUA, said: “Road-users now pump £48 billion a year into the Exchequer in exchange for a paltry £4.8 billion in road improvements and an obviously inadequate£5 billion on road maintenance. This has been accepted with resigned tolerance by motorists for years – but for how much longer?”