As UK roads get more and more congested, it seems that some drivers will have to become what they have, on the whole, despised for years. A cyclist. INRIX is saying it could now be quicker to cycle than to drive if you commute into a city centre.
In many major UK cities, cars are travelling slower than the average cyclist does on the last mile of their journey. A new report by INRIX, a big data company specialising in roads, found that it was quicker to cycle than to drive, based on last mile speed in 6 major UK cities.
UK wide picture
On average, drivers in the UK lost 178 hours yearly due to congestion, costing the UK £7.9 billion over the year. For an average UK driver, this is £1317, an impressive amount when you look at it.
Six cities across the UK had an average last mile speed of 10mph or less, and when the average cyclist does 9.6mph, it seems almost ridiculous to carry on driving. While for some they may not be able to drive, for those who have adequate facilities at workplaces or live close enough to walk/cycle, it seems a much better option. In six UK cities, you’d actually travel faster by bicycle than a car.
In Central London, Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, wants 80% of journeys into the city centre to be by public transport, walking or cycling by 2041. At the moment, people are avoiding public transport finding it to be unreliable slow, or not getting them there when they need it to be.
As the table below shows, unsurprisingly London has the highest cost of congestion per driver, and the highest time lost due to congestion. Birmingham came in second in the UK but placed 51st in the overall worldwide ranking, much better than London’s 6th place.
Leeds congestion increased by 6% over the year, and one traffic campaigner from Leeds cited the evergrowing number of single drivers entering and crossing the city centre. Rob Greenland, co-director of Social Business Brokers, said to the Yorkshire Post “The cause of the near-daily congestion isn’t … a car broken down on the inner ring road, or whatever today’s excuse is. It’s the fact that there are too many people travelling alone in cars, so that when there’s a problem (traffic light failure, collision, broken down car) the system collapses. There is no resilience – because too many of us are travelling in a way that the system just can’t cope with.”
|URBAN AREA||2018 WORLDWIDE IMPACT RANKING (2017)||HOURS LOST IN CONGESTION||COST OF CONGESTION (PER DRIVER)||INNER CITY LAST MILE SPEED (MPH)|
|London||6 (6)||227 (6)||£1,680||7|
|Birmingham||51 (52)||134 (68)||£994||12|
|Glasgow||54 (57)||99 (117)||£736||11|
|Manchester||85 (92)||156 (34)||£1,157||10|
|Bristol||86 (90)||149 (45)||£1,099||8|
|Edinburgh||87 (79)||165 (24)||£1,219||8|
|Sheffield||90 (93)||149 (44)||£1,101||10|
|Leicester||98 (98)||155 (37)||£1,145||11|
|Leeds||101 (106)||143 (52)||£1,057||13|
|Liverpool||104 (91)||119 (85)||£878||10|
|Belfast||121 (112)||190 (16)||£1,406||8|
|Cardiff||131 (123)||143 (53)||£1,056||9|
|Nottingham||140 (136)||149 (43)||£1,101||10|
|Hull||142 (138)||151 (41)||£1,118||12|
|Newcastle||147 (143)||90 (135)||£666||19|
|Coventry||167 (177)||90 (134)||£666||17|
|Stoke-on-Trent||168 (165)||107 (102)||£794||14|
|Southampton||173 (176)||111 (96)||£821||11|
|Swansea||191 (191)||95 (126)||£704||10|
UK vs the World
While London placed 6th overall, the rest of the UK fared better, with Birmingham coming in a respectable 51st and Glasgow in 54th.
For comparison, Dublin did not do well at all, as the city actually had the slowest last mile travel speed of any city worldwide, which is “The time it takes to travel one mile into the central business district during peak hours.” On average, you would drive at 6mph in the centre of Dublin during peak times, which is the worst of any city and urban area in the UK!
Last month, we told you about NICE wanting to give cyclists and pedestrians priority on roads, and so it seems that over the next twenty years, cities across the world will be designed with cyclists and other forms of transport over cars, as they help to reduce congestion in major cities, and you’ll go faster in a fair few of them.
Commenting on the report , Glynn Barton, Director of Network Management at TfL, said: “We are taking bold action to reduce congestion and improve London’s poor air quality. This includes removing the Congestion Charge exemption for private hire vehicles and reducing the time taken to clear up unplanned incidents, ensuring that roadworks by utilities companies and others are better coordinated. We are also working with the freight industry to encourage more efficient deliveries across the capital.”
“To directly tackle poor air quality, we are ensuring that buses, taxis and private hire vehicles are as green as possible, alongside the introduction of the Ultra-Low Emission Zone this April. In delivering the Mayor’s ambitious plans for 80 per cent of all journeys to be made by public transport, walking or cycling by 2041, our plans will further help tackle congestion across London.”
Worst UK roads to drive on
In rush hour the worst UK road was the A406 from the Chiswick Roundabout to Hanger Lane, with a daily delay of 15 minutes. The A406 also pops up further down the list in spot 6, with the congestion from the A1 to the A10 having a daily delay of 11 minutes. At peak travel time in London, the average mph was just 15.58 mph, and a reasonably fit cyclist can do up to 25mph on their commute, so it might be quicker to cycle for you if you live in a city centre.
Fifteen minutes daily may not seem like much, but over a year it equals to 61 hours for someone doing a daily journey, just over two and a half days.
In Leeds the Leeds Road/Saltaire Road was the worst, with the section between the Harrogate Road and the Bradford Road having a daily delay of 11 minutes, equaling 44 hours over the year.
Would you consider cycling to work if you knew it would save you time and money? Do you think cities should be doing more to reduce congestion? Let us know below
Firstly, these are the worst configured and most crash-prone web pages I visit.
I’ve known for years cycling is probably quicker over a distance of 3 miles into any centre with a population greater than about 60000.
I find politicians lack of vision staggering and think a tax offset scheme for commuting distance or secondary accommodation /homes should have been introduced 20 years ago but that would curb politicians’ money making opportunities and corruption.
Most people who own a car MUST use it to go anywhere and everywhere no matter how faster or .cheaper other means of transport might be. Too many have just forgotten how to walk or how easy it is .
Yes, because after paying high static cost of ownership one needs to drive as much as possible to reduce overall cost per mile. So it obvious you will drive everywhere if you already decided to own the car.
E.g £800 insurance, £295 road tax, £245 for service and MOT… it already costs me £1300/year no matter how much I drive. So I have an option not to buy any annual tickets and just fuel up when I need it (my average for 10000miles is just under £1000/year)… or use something else and pay maybe 3000, 4000, 5000 £ more on top of £1300 I have already paid, + fuel for whatever little driving I do and for privilege to just drive myself around. Guess which one I choose?!
Except, it’s the wear and tear on the car, more usage of tyres, brakes, fuel etc. Plus the harm to your health and the environment, it’s more than just that obvious cash outlay
No, it’s not obvious that you will drive everywhere just because you have committed to buying a car. Not everybody follows that kind of logic, or uses that kind of mathematical analysis, whatever you want to call it. There are myriad other factors involved, such as the time and cost of using public transport at any given time of day and to any given destination, whether somebody is offering a lift, whether the weather is good and one fancies a walk, whether one enjoys driving etc etc. I would love to dispense with my car (my main considerations being the environment, finance, time and effort – approximately in that order), but living in Cardiff, I couldn’t operate without it at present.
@Kitty Bates – Dublin isn’t in the UK (and hasn’t been for over a century); it’s the capital of Eire!
Making comments that users of one mode of transport (drivers) ‘despise’ another (cyclists) just perpetuates the myth that these groups are separate. They are not. The majority of cyclists also drive, walk and take public transport too as part of their daily lives, too. Comments like this create road rage and should be avoided.
The true scandal highlighted by this INRIX report is not that driving has got worse, it is that the UK Government has allowed this situation to happen with its ‘laissez-faire’ approach to transport.
Successful cities rely on good accessibility by a range of transport modes, and the car should be part of that mix. However, it can’t be the main access mode, because it’s space-inefficient, so if too many people choose to drive, this causes congestion, which harms the economy of the city.
In the UK, whilst investment in roads continues at record levels, investment in passenger transport (particularly bus – the main mode in that area) and walking/cycling has tanked. This has got to change if the UK is going to get on top of it’s congestion problem, because we just don’t have the available space for us all to drive cars.
The investment is only at record levels due to the length of time it takes to build one road. 2 bypasses each between 5 and 10 miles taking 5yrs to build.
Yeah, its a mamoth job for 3 road workers to do it even in that time ! (Witness the ‘Smart motorway works where its a miracle if you see even 3 workers in a 15 mile stretch of 50mph conned roadworks). If this were anywhere else in the world it would be done in a year.
Blame the money grabbing delaying companies doing the work and the authorities for ‘not being on their case’ and pushing the job along.
I admit it’s easy to misconstrue but I take it that the author’s reference to Dublin in this context is being part of the Rest of the World [not the UK]. Otherwise agree with you that UK Government takes responsibility – Failing Grayling is just awful and DoT policies are extremely disjointed, you only have to look at VED for vans to understand that with the latest Euro 6 vans having higher tax than the more polluting Euro 4/5 vans. More cycle paths & zero emission electric bicycles definitely the way to go.
Is it really necessary to pay someone (clearly a genius) to tell us that a bicycle weaving through stationary traffic is going to reach its destnation more quickly?
Most city congestion is caused by lack of adequate parking or overpriced parking which means that a huge amount of city traffic is made up of motorists looking for somewhere to leave their car.
Bicycles aren’t the answer – if everyone cycled into city centres, where would they park all the bikes? A bicycle only carries one person – a car carries several. A constant flow of small commuter buses operating between out of centre car parks and city ventres as well as around city centres would alleviate the situation dramatically.
This is completely irresponsible ‘journalism’. Making general assumptions and segregating cyclists (or anyone) into ‘others’ to be ‘despised’ is lazy and dangerous – especially when applied to more sensitive subject matters than road transport. I joined this website to help me get cheap petrol. I love driving, I loved getting my first car and the freedom – I also love cycling for exactly the same reasons. Sometimes it’s cheaper and makes sense…grow up.
The government don’t want less cars on the road for revenue reasons, end of, they are the cause of all our problems. Crooks and shysters put money making scams as a priority for everything.
Thats politicinas for you!
The only reason Manchester city center has bad congestion is the past 15 years of trying to reconfigure the roads and layout to make it as difficult as possible to get in.
idiotic bus lanes that are hardly used and take up valuable road space dont help either.
they even reset the traffic signals to slow up traffic so they could try and pursued the public to vote in the idiotic congestion charge. which the public recognised and even the mayor in his questionnaire indirectly admitted.
In othercwords they followed/copied exactly what Ken Livingstone had done to London….actually created a congestion problem.
In other words they copied what Ken Livingston had done with/to London, and created the conjestion problem.
Easy solution – get the bus then? Or allow cars with 2+ adults to use the bus lane to reduce the number of cars. Less stress, less pollution, fewer cars..
Ah! So I should ride my bike into Central London from Junction 3 on the M40 then?
These people are so city centric, hello, not everybody lives in the city, we can’t just hop on a bus or a train right outside our doors.
I don’t think it’s saying that – it’s suggesting that as you get NEARER to a town/city centre then cycling becomes a potentially quicker, fitter and non-polluting option. From J3 of the M40 a train makes more sense to get into the centre of London. Hence the hundreds of bikes parked at Marylebone station.
If the system is in place so you can drive to a certain point and hop on a bike, bus, train etc then that is logically far better than demanding to drive all the way into the centre. I cycle into Birmingham daily, every car I pass is 1 person per car. You could easily sort a lot of traffic issues simply by allowing cars with 2+ adults in to use bus lanes for example, encourage car sharing and 1/2 the number of vehicles going in
@Knobbly, most cars, despite having the ability to carry five people, only carry one person during commuting or rush hour. It is a fact that the roads would be less congested if more people cycled but I know it is not practical for a great number of people.
Surprised Cambridge isn’t on the list! Cycling is the only way to get anywhere in peak traffic here!
Councils are like mafias, you cant use their bus lanes 24 hours a day in Reading, why cant we use them at night when there are hardly any buses? we have to take a long detour otherwise we will get legally robbed by the council, cyclists need to have number plates as there are many many irresponsible cyclists who cause accidents and just because they have a camera on their helmet they try to provoke drivers for youtube content.
Cars kill 3000 people a year despite having number plates. Try again.
Yeah, they drive into other cars trying to get out of the way of the twat cyclist who’s just crossed in front them without looking.
No. All the police data and insurance data shows that’s nonsense
But, but, but the advert that sold me my car said I would look hansomer, cooler and faster in it! Bikes are for poor people innit?
Don’t you mean “Bikes is for poor people”?
This is not surprising. I was a cycle commuter from the mid 80s to mid 2000s doing 15 miles each way into central London all year round every day. Admittedly I was a competitive cyclist and this formed part of my training routine. Of my many bicycles for road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, track, mtb and training (and car and motorbikes) I had during that time I had a commuter bike set up with HRM and cycle computer. I looked to complete the distance in between 30 and 40 mins which was even quicker than the motorbike in rush hour. I often overtook mopeds and scooters that would generally get in my way.. My overall average speed for the 20 or so years was 19.4mph according to the computer over 4x that of the average traffic speed. Although I didn’t cycle for health reasons my fitness level was epic and my focus and alertness and energy levels were off the chart. Incidents and altercations were almost a daily occurrence. I used to like to remind motorists that the anger we were sharing would make me faster and stronger but probably give them a heart condition. Good times!
Sounds good – why did you stop?
Also, doesn’t cycling in the middle of traffic make a cyclist vulnerable to polluted air? And wouldn’t that ultimately mean you’re causing more damage than good to your health?
With the amount of CO2 we’ve pumped into the atmosphere being well over 400 parts per million and rising (the highest it’s been for at least three million years when sea levels were up to 20m higher than now), we’ve already given the next generation a dire legacy. So we all need to get on our bikes and begin despising internal combustion engines!
Yeah.. we need to fight those cars.. terrible produces whole 2.4% of pollution… but nevermind manufacturing (40%) energy production (30%)… those are not a problem… cars are…
Pray tell, who was doing the studies 3,000,000 years ago.. I have visions of a T Rex with a kit for measuring air quality….
Dinosaurs died out 65m years ago, however, we can tell from things like ice cores how much CO2 was in the air in days gone by
They will have to do a lot more to make roads safer for cyclists
Don’t know about anybody else but I’ve never driven just the last mile, I have to drive the rest as well so it’s a ridiculous comparison. What’s the average based when you include the 15 miles that I drive on fast-moving dual carriageway?
You mean the bits that aren’t in the city and aren’t being looked at? The issue is lots of cars on inner city roads polluting and idling (bad for your health, bad for your engine (particularly diesel), bad for the environment). If you could drive those 15 and go to a park and ride for example then that’s logically better for all.
Alot of the problem is caused by local authorities imposing some form of restriction, traffic lights in the wrong places or timed wrongly, inappropriate speed limits, several others that will take too long to go into here. Just look at your own area you will soon see.
The conclusion is BS. So they saying “it is actually quicker to cycle than drive”, BUT what they actually mean – “based on last mile average speed and comparing it with theoretical cycling speed, only for that last mile you would be better of cycling”. So I am sure it is true, but does not provide the answer how you actually get to that last mile? Well if your journey is just 2 miles it makes sense to cycle all the way and it would be quicker indeed. But if it is 20, 30, 40 miles? You still need to 19 miles (or more) to get there before you can take advantage of cycling… so it means you still need to be driving.. in which case one last mile won’t make much difference in overall time and cycling for 20 miles is certainly not quicker.. this is just click bait BS… not from petrol prices, but from BS pro lycra butts study they quoting.
I cycle to work, my commute is 6 miles and is quicker by bike. The roads are congested from pretty much when I get onto the main road. If you’re commuting 20-40 miles a day each way you should live close, change jobs or even consider different modes of transport even part drive / part public etc
The report seems fundamentally flawed as it totally missed powered two wheelers. Not only is fitness and distance to work not an issue but you join a camaraderie that you do not get with any other transport group.
It also solves the mobile phone use danger as you have good hands free kit.
I am always a bit suspicious of such reports that feel like the answer was decided before analysis and it is touting for business by consultants.
“on the last mile of their journey”
So what do you before the last mile?
Get a motorcycle. Simples ! Instead of chucking your teenagers in a car at 17 and adding to the congestion. A proven fact that if 10% of drivers moved to powered two wheelers congestion would reduce by 40% !!! It’s not rocket science.
City planners should do more to encourage cycling, especially creating safe cycle-ways for everyone to use (excluding motor vehicles)
That traffic queue it probably from a cyclist at the front? They are not safely riding beside the pavement or in a dedicated cycle lane, their desperately trying to increase their ego by being inconsiderate, entitled and supercilious. This is all while riding 4 ft from the curb, to deliberately block traffic. Look at me! LOOK AT ME!! in my bright skin tight Lycra and sunglasses.They feel even better in pairs or groups and it increases their selfish complacent ‘I’m all right Jack attitude’. Its just so sad, all people want to do is get to work. Its just so, so SAD.
No, the traffic queues are from the volume of cars, trying to pretend otherwise just denies the real world facts. Watch when you commute – look how many 1 person per car there are, all demanding to use their car while expecting others to use alternative methods. If you can’t pass a cyclist safely on a normal town or city road, hand in your license.
Brilliant…. based on the last mile speed.. Thats possibly because the odd cyclists are granted free access to around 50% of the available road space and the multitude of cars are crushed into a very small area…Duh.
[…] data and analytics company, Inrix reported that, across Britain, we spent an average of 178 hours stuck in fury-inducing traffic last year. The figure rose to 22 hours – equal to over nine […]