New research from Oponeo has revealed which cities in the UK are the most car friendly. The research analysed everything from vehicle maintenance costs and safety to how easy the cities are to commute through. The results may well surprise you!

Top of the table was the Scottish city Glasgow, which the research found to be the most car-friendly city in the UK. It was closely followed by Leeds and Sheffield. At the other end of the scale, Cardiff, Liverpool and London were found to be the UK’s least car-friendly cities. Oponeo’s Giles Kirkland comments,

“Driving in big cities, especially old cities which were never developed with cars in mind, is no easy feat anywhere these days. However, there are places which are more car-friendly than others. To see which cities are doing well in this regard, we took into account criteria such as road safety, the price of fuel, insurance and parking. Some of the results came as a surprise: I used to live in Bristol and thought the traffic there was rather slow – now I know it’s the second best in the country!

“What isn’t surprising is the greatest loser of all – London. It’s the slowest, most expensive and least comfortable city in the UK for drivers. Public transport or bikes are definitely better alternatives for Londoners.”

Car costs by city

The cost of car insurance has been on the rise. Where you live has a big part to play in how much your premiums are. The most expensive place to insure a car out of the 12 cities included in the research is Liverpool. A middle-aged professional male there can look at spending £1,411.20 to insure his car worth £13,000.

The same individual would pay just £787.21 to insure his car in Edinburgh, which was the cheapest city to purchase car insurance. Bristol came in second cheapest at £802.26, and Leicester was the third cheapest at £857.92.

Parking costs

Another cost to consider when living in a city is the price of parking. The most expensive city to park in is, perhaps predictably, London. Parking there will set you back an average of £8.50 per hour. That’s way out in front of the second most expensive city for car parking, which is Edinburgh, at £5 per hour.

The cheapest city to park in is Birmingham, where it will cost you an average of just £1.50 to park up for an hour. Sheffield and Manchester aren’t far behind, costing just £1.60 and £1.63 per hour respectively.

One further cost that was considered during this research is the cost of having your car serviced. To service a Ford Fiesta would cost a reasonable £165.50 in an independent garage in Belfast, and £239 if you were to take it into a dealership.

In contrast to this, an independent garage in London would charge you £220.50 to service the same vehicle, while a dealership in the capital would cost a massive £337.50. One again, this is far more than the second most expensive city for a car service – Edinburgh – where an independent service would cost £174, and one carried out in a dealership would be £254.50.

Dodge the stress of commuting

The Oponeo research looked at the average speed that a car can drive through the city centre, and used this to work out which UK city would offer the quickest commute.

Someone driving through Leeds could expect to make their way across the city at an average of 24.23 mph, the fastest speed of any of the cities studied. Bristol comes in at a close second, with an average of 23.55 mph through the city.

In comparison, a motorist will only travel at an average of 13.54 mph in Edinburgh, and just 8 mph during the morning rush hour. Meanwhile, a London commuter drives at an average of 11.34 mph.

For those unfortunate enough to be driving through the city centre at 8 am, it is Manchester that records the slowest average speed, at just 1.25 mph. That’s about a third of the average person’s walking speed!

Safety first

The Oponeo study also considered safety. It considered how many traffic accidents there are per 1,000 inhabitants in each of the 12 cities included in the research.

Belfast saw the highest incidence of accidents, with 4.06 per every 1000 inhabitants. Conversely though, it also had the lowest percentage of fatal accidents out of all 12 cities.

At the other end of the scale is Manchester, which had only 1 accident for every 1,000 inhabitants . So perhaps there is an up side to those average 8 am speeds of 1.25 mph!

Glasgow tops the table

Taking all of these aspects into consideration, Glasgow comes out on top as the UK’s most car friendly location. The city is a cost effective, safe, and commuter friendly city to live and drive in.


Were you surprised by these findings? How important is car friendliness to you when it comes to the place that you live? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.  

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x