Belfast Telegraph

Belfast the worst city for traffic jams in UK: Survey

By Adrian Rutherford

Belfast is the most congested city in the UK - and traffic jams are getting worse, according to a survey.

Evening rush-hour journeys take more than 80% longer than they would in free-flowing traffic.

A typical commuter will spend almost four days stuck in jams each year.

The findings were revealed after a poll by traffic information company TomTom.

It puts Belfast top of a list of 17 of the UK's most congested cities - worse than London and Birmingham.

Average journeys in 2014 took 39% longer than they would in free-flowing traffic, up from 36% in 2013.

In the morning and evening rush-hours, the situation is even worse, with journeys taking 82% longer on average.

Last year a typical Belfast city commuter with a 30-minute drive home spent an extra 94 hours stuck in traffic compared to a jam-free road.

The findings come despite a revamp of Belfast's traffic system which reduced vehicles in the city centre by 11,000 a day. The scheme, completed in 2013, included 2.6km of new bus lanes on main thoroughfares like Oxford Street.

The TomTom research shows that, across the UK, congestion worsened in 14 of the 17 cities.

Bristol was the only destination where jams had eased slightly. Figures for Sheffield and for Leeds/Bradford were about the same as in 2013.

After Belfast, London was the worst city for hold-ups with average journeys taking 37% longer than in free-flowing traffic, and 67% in the evening peak.

Other cities where drivers were particularly badly held up in the evening rush-hour were Manchester (journeys taking 72% longer), Edinburgh and Brighton and Hove.

Worldwide, the worst city was Istanbul which rose to 109% in the evening peak, followed by Mexico City and Rio de Janeiro.

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