The UK is now the second most congested country in the world – see our most congested cities here…

traffic jam
February 21, 2017

SatNav company Tom Tom have published the findings of their annual Traffic Index study, which has some shocking figures concerning UK roads.

This year’s Traffic Index has revealed that the UK is now the second most congested country in the world behind China, and UK motorists spend an average of five more days per year stuck in traffic than they did last year.

Tom Tom’s annual report details congestion hotspots around the world –  specifically in terms of cities- and found that the UK is home to 11 of the top 100 most congested cities in the world.

The most congested cities in the UK

According to the report, the 20 most congested cities in the UK are:

1.Belfast (43%)

2.Edinburgh (40%)

3.London (40%)

4.Manchester (38%)

5.Brighton and Hove (36%)

6.Bournemouth (36%)

7.Sheffield (35%)

8.Hull (35%)

9.Bristol (34%)

10. Newcastle-Sunderland (32%)

11. Leicester (32%)

12. Liverpool (30%)

13. Swansea (29%)

14. Glasgow (29%)

15. Cardiff (27%)

16. Nottingham (27%)

17. Birmingham-Wolverhampton (26%)

18. Leeds-Bradford (26%)

19. Portsmouth (25%)

20. Southampton (25%)

21. Reading (24%)

22. Coventry (23%)

23. Stoke-on-Trent (22%)

24. Middlesbrough (22%)

25. Preston (20%)


The congestion level percentages represent the measured amount of extra travel time experienced by drivers across the entire year. This is in comparison to measured travel times during uncongested conditions. So drivers in Belfast, for instance, spend 43% more time in traffic than if they were always in free-flowing traffic.

The UK’s traffic congestion level has increased by 5 per cent since last year, with drivers now spending an average extra 5 days a year in congestion.

Key findings:


• Belfast is the most congested city in the UK (18th in the world) followed by Edinburgh & London

• On average Brits will spend an extra 5 days of their lives in traffic each year, but this increases to 6.3 days for Londoners

• The busiest day on the roads last year in London was Thursday June 23rd – when Brits took to the polls to vote on the referendum

• The biggest increase in congestion came in Sheffield which was up 5 per cent on last year

• During evening peak periods drivers in Belfast can expect an 87 per cent increase in congestion level. Followed by 79 per cent increase in Manchester and 68 per cent in London

• Mexico City was named the most congested city in the world, with drivers facing an average of 66 per cent extra travel time (7 per cent up on last year), this can rise to 101 per cent in the evening peak periods


Announcing the results of the study, Tom Tom’s Senior Traffic Expert Nick Cohn said:

“Traffic congestion is a fact of life for every driver. And as we reveal the latest TomTom Traffic Index results, we can see that the problem is not going away.

“Governments cannot simply ‘build away’ congestion. Studies have shown over the years that building new motorways or freeways does not solve the issue.

“At TomTom, we’re excited about the paradigm shift that we’re seeing reflected by many governments’ attitudes to transforming our cities globally. They’re managing congestion with clever, sustainable policies – such as better public transport infrastructure, investment in cycling and walking initiatives, and ambitious policies pointing to the future of automated driving.”

A Department for Transport spokeswoman said:

“We are making the most extensive improvements to roads since the 1970s, investing a record £23 billion to keep our country moving and make journeys faster, better and more reliable for everyone.

“As announced in the 2016 Autumn Statement, we are also spending a further £1.3 billion over the course of this Parliament to relieve congestion and provide important upgrades to ensure our roads are fit for the future.”


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