Gridlock: Top 10 Congested Cities In The UK

Wed 5th Feb 2020

If you think your daily commute is bad spare a thought for those who live in some of the world’s most congested cities, now a list has been published of the worst for traffic at home and abroad.
TomTom’s own satellite navigation data, known as the Traffic Index has analysed some of the biggest and busiest cities in the world and found a surprising winner of the most congested city in the UK.

While London is clearly a traffic magnet, its crown as the most congested city in Britain appears to have slipped, with Scotland’s capital, Edinburgh now taking the title. According to TomTom’s data drivers in Edinburgh are taking 41% longer on average than they would if traffic was running smoothly. A break down of the data suggests that Edinburgh’s roads are so busy that drivers in Scotland are spending on average 172 hours queuing in traffic. 

Edinburgh’s place on the east coast of Scotland shares many characteristics with other so-called congested cities, in that its proximity to the coastline appears to be making for bad traffic conditions. Brighton, Bournemouth, Hull, Belfast, Southampton and Bristol all appear in the top ten and can claim that they too have rivers and coastlines as a hindrance to traffic policy.

Across the globe and drivers in India have the worst deal, with Bengaluru, Mumbai, Pune and New Delhi occupying places in the top ten.

“Congestion remains a perennial problem for Edinburgh,” Stephanie Leonard, UK traffic adviser at TomTom said: 'Congestion remains a perennial problem for Edinburgh.

“Yet despite being a modern city built on Medieval foundations, city planners can look to Glasgow for lessons in how public transport programmes and road developments can have a transformative impact.
“It's time for traffic to change. In time, the rise of autonomous vehicles and car-sharing services will help alleviate congestion across the country.

“However, policymakers can make real improvements now by using all the tools available to them to analyse traffic levels and impacts, so they can make better infrastructural decisions.”

The worst cities for congestion in the UK in 2019

UK rank (Global rank) City Average congestion level
1 (33) Edinburgh 41%
2 (45) London 38%
3 (63) Brighton and Hove 35%
4 (69) Bournemouth 34%
5 (73) Hull 34%
6 (76) Belfast 33%
7 (79) Southampton 33%
8 (83) Bristol 33%
9 (88) Manchester 33%
10 (89) Reading 32%