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London world’s most congested city

Monitoring Desk

LONDON: London is the world’s most congested city where drivers take 42.5 minutes to travel just 6.2 miles on average in a petrol car, a media report states.

The Daily Mail cited a report from TomTom as revealing that it is actually the worst city in the world for congestion at peak times. For comparison, it takes just 32 minutes to drive the same distance in Paris, 28 minutes in Manchester and 25 minutes in Los Angeles. But coming in second and third place respectively are Bucharest in Romania and Dublin in Ireland, where it takes about 36 minutes for this journey at peak time.

TomTom has created a report, titled ‘TomTom Traffic Index 2022’, detailing the fuel consumption, travel times and carbon dioxide emissions of drivers in 50 global cities. Real-time data was collected from 600 million active devices, including sat navs, smartphone apps and telematics systems, and was combined with fuel prices in different countries.

Emissions calculations were made by inputting a vehicle’s speed, efficiency and fuel type into a simulation tool developed at the Graz University of Technology. Thanks to its astronomical travel times, London also ranked first of all cities for highest fuel consumption per mile in 2022.

It took 1.47 litres of petrol or 1.27 litres of diesel to drive just 10 miles (16 km) across the capital – a 2.5 per cent increase on 2021. ‘The ongoing train strikes heavily affected levels of traffic congestion, with commuters opting to use vehicles to get around cities in the absence of train services,’ said Andy Marchant, a Traffic Expert at TomTom.

“In London specifically, a lack of black cab drivers may also have prompted more drivers into the city.” Fuel prices in the UK also mean that Londoners are paying £1.79 to drive 6.2 miles (10 km) – more than anyone else in the world. The next most expensive places to drive this distance were Athens, where it costs £1.66, and Oslo, where it costs £1.64.

On the other hand, the cheapest places to drive 6.2 miles (10 km) are in the USA, with it costing £0.55 in Knoxville, Tennessee and £0.61 in Atlanta, Georgia.

With an increase in fuel consumption, which is boosted by 33 per cent at rush hour in London, comes an increase in emissions. An average City worker who drove six miles (10 km) to and from work five days a week in 2022 emitted an extra 272 kg of carbon dioxide by travelling at peak times.

Their total commuting emissions would come to 1,094 kg of carbon dioxide if they drove a petrol car. Driving the same distance at the same time and frequency would have only released 933 kg in Bristol, 862 kg in Edinburgh, 850 kg in Manchester and 763 kg in Cardiff.

Plus, TomTom’s Traffic Index found that consumption of diesel and petrol per mile driven increased in 16 out of 25 UK cities in 2022 compared to 2021. London’s roads are known to be some of the world’s most congested so during the pandemic, the government introduced ‘Low Traffic Neighbourhoods’ (LTNs).

These areas are protected by a range of measures including physical barriers, including large boxes filled with flowers to block drivers from passing.  They were intended to help reduce emissions and improve air quality in residential areas of London, but have received mixed reviews.

For supporters, LTNs make it far more pleasant to walk or cycle within the zone as the vast majority of traffic has been prohibited from accessing the area. However some say that they actually make traffic worse, as people are forced to drive more to avoid them, and are merely a new way of fining motorists.

A few weeks ago, a cyclist and a driver headed to Kennington, south London to compare the time it takes to cross its LTN. It took the bike just eight minutes to make the 1.3 mile journey, but the Cavansite Blue Mercedes C350e nearly 40 minutes.