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Traffic jams 'cost UK economy £6.9bn in 2019'

UK commuters spent 115 hours stuck in traffic in 2019, according to a study. (Getty)

Traffic jams cost the UK economy £6.9bn ($9.1bn) in 2019 as road commuters spent an average of 115 hours stuck in traffic, a new study has found.

This equates to an average of £894 per driver lost to traffic problems last year, according to traffic analyst INRIX which identified, analysed and ranked congestion and mobility trends in more than 900 cities across 43 countries.

London was the UK’s most congested city in 2019, with the average driver sitting in traffic for 149 hours. Traffic jams in the capital cost the economy more than £4.9bn, and the typical driver £1,162.

London was ranked as the eighth most congested city in the world, according to the analysis.

Belfast came in as the UK’s second most congested city with the average commuter wasting 112 hours stuck in traffic last year. Bristol was third (103 hours), followed by Edinburgh (98 hours), and Manchester (92 hours).

Read more: Workers lose five days a year to travel delays

Cardiff experienced the biggest year-on-year growth in congestion, up 5% to 87 hours.

Congestion in Nottingham fell by 17% to 78 hours, which was the biggest drop in the UK’s top 10 most congested cities.

The top five most congested roads in the UK are all found in London, with drivers on the A404/A501 from Edgware Road to Old Street spending an average of 44 hours held up in traffic in 2019 at peak hours.

Top 10 most congested urban areas in the UK. (INRIX)

Outside the capital, commuters in Birmingham and Bournemouth on the A38 and A338 respectively spent the most time in traffic jams, losing 32 hours to delays last year.

Trevor Reed, transportation analyst at INRIX, said: “Congestion costs drivers, businesses and the UK economy billions of pounds each year. With the rising price of motoring, consumers are getting hit hardest.

With the UK budget due soon, hopefully the Chancellor will take the opportunity to address this issue with continued investments in transport networks.”

Read more: The most affordable London commuter towns of 2020

A Department for Transport spokesperson said: “This government is determined to improve journeys for all motorists, which is why we’re investing nearly £29bn to reduce congestion on our roads up to 2025.

“Looking to the future, our £2.5bn Transforming Cities Fund will help develop innovative public transport projects, while the tripling of our investment per head in cycling and walking since 2010 is encouraging people to try other ways of getting around — helping create less congested towns and cities.”

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