Congestion costing UK economy £8bn a year but solutions found locally, NIC say

Drivers in the UK are having to dig deep into their pockets and shell out hundreds of pounds for the time spent in traffic, a new study has found.

Data collated by Inrix has found the average road user in London lost up to £1,680 last year due to jams, followed by Edinburgh whose average road user lost £1,219, Manchester whose average road user lost £1,157 and Leicester whose average road user lost £1,145.

The research shows that road congestion cost the UK economy £7.9bn last year with London named as the sixth most congested city in the world, once population is taken into account. The English and Scottish capitals are the country's slowest cities with an average speed for journeys into the central business district of just 7mph in peak time.

The National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) say the figures highlight the need for local solutions to tackle the issue, as recommended in the UK’s first-ever National Infrastructure Assessment published last summer.

Proposals in the National Infrastructure Assessment included funding and powers to be devolved to city leaders, so they can develop long-term strategies to improve local transport while also delivering new homes and job opportunities.

Commenting on the latest figures, a spokesperson for the National Infrastructure Commission said: “Today’s figures clearly show the considerable impact that traffic congestion can have on local areas, and on the UK economy as a whole – but the solution needs to be found in City Halls, not Whitehall. Our National Infrastructure Assessment – the first of its kind for the UK – includes recommendations to give city leaders new powers and £43billion additional funding between now and 2040 to develop and implement long-term strategies to tackle the issue, while also delivering job opportunities and much-needed new homes.”

Inrix transportation analyst Trevor Reed added: "Congestion costs Brits billions of pounds each year. Unaddressed, it will continue to have serious consequences for national and local economies, businesses and citizens in the years to come. In order to avoid traffic congestion becoming a further drain on our economy, it is increasingly obvious that authorities need to adapt. With the help of new and innovative intelligent transportation solutions, we can begin to tackle the mobility issues we face today."

Furthermore, the NIC is planning a series of events across the country, so city leaders can come together to share knowledge and expertise.  The commission is also working with five ‘case study’ cities – the Liverpool City Region, West Yorkshire Combined Authority including Leeds and Bradford, Derby, Basildon and Exeter – as they develop their long-term strategies.

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