Which European cities suffer the worst traffic congestion?

- Leadership - Nov 30, 2016

Hamburg, Stuttgart, Antwerp and London are among the worst cities in Europe for traffic jams, according to newly released studies.

INRIX has published research on Europe’s worst traffic hotspots. INRIX analysed more than 200,000 traffic jams to identify and rank 45,662 traffic hotspots in 123 major cities in 19 European countries. It also calculated the cost of congestion across all traffic hotspots to identify the price drivers in Europe are estimated to pay over the next ten years due to time wasted sitting in gridlock.

In Germany, INRIX Roadway Analytics identified and ranked 8,517 traffic hotspots in 27 cities. The ranking was determined by an ‘Impact Factor’4, which multiplied the average duration of a traffic jam with its average length and the number of times it occurred in September 20165. The economic cost to drivers in Germany as a result of time wasted at these traffic hotspots could amount to €47.6 billion over the next ten years if congestion levels are not reduced.

Hamburg had more traffic hotspots and also the highest Impact Factor compared to all cities analysed in Germany. The impact of hotspots in Hamburg was almost 40 percent more than the second ranked city, Munich. This also means Hamburg pays the highest price with time wasted in congestion potentially costing drivers €7.7 billion by 2025. High traffic levels in Hamburg can be explained in part by the fact that it is Germany’s second largest city and one of the most densely populated. It is also a major transportation hub as Europe’s second largest port.

“Only by identifying traffic hotspots and analysing their root causes can we effectively combat gridlock,” said Graham Cookson, Chief Economist, INRIX. “Some of the most effective traffic improvement measures have benefited from this approach. One example is the successful investment in the Luise-Kiesselbach-Platz tunnel on the “Mittlerer Ring” in Munich, Germany’s most congested road. Using INRIX Roadway Analytics, we saw average peak hour speeds increase by 10 km/h when the tunnel opened in July 2015, which is a rise of 31 percent.”

The worst traffic hotspot in Germany, and of all cities analysed in Europe, is the A7 N at J29 HH-Othmarschen in Hamburg, which could cost drivers €1.3 billion over the next decade if congestion here is not reduced. The A8 W at J48 (B295) Leonberg-West in Stuttgart is a close second in the ranking. The cost of congestion at both of these traffic hotspots is more than double that of the third road in the ranking, the A3 N at J25 (Koln-Mulheim) in Cologne.

How Germany Compares with Europe

Munich, Stuttgart and Cologne also feature in the top ten European city ranking alongside Hamburg. The economic cost of time wasted in gridlock in these cities range from €5 billion in Cologne to €5.2 billion in Stuttgart to €5.6 billion in Munich. This compares to €47.7 billion in London, which by far has the highest impact of hotspots in the study and also has the largest population. However, all cities in the top ten have a proportionally high Impact Factor, and the cost to drivers in other European cities range from €3.8 billion in Milan to €9.6 billion in Rome.

The Autobahns on the outskirts of Hamburg and Stuttgart are at the top of the worst traffic hotspots in Europe ranking, with these two individual hotspots on the A7 and A8 potentially costing drivers €2.6 billion over the next ten years through time wasted in congestion. 40 percent of the top ten worst hotspots in Europe are in Germany, with roads in Cologne and Karlsruhe also featuring alongside roads in Antwerp, Luxembourg City and Paris.

The table below provides the number of cities in each country with a population of 250,0002 or more that were analysed as part of the study. The cost to drivers in Europe of time wasted in congestion across all 45,662 traffic hotspots identified could amount to €207.9 billion by 2025.

To access the full research report, please visit: www2.inrix.com/traffic-hotspots-research-2016

Read the December 2016 issue of Business Review Europe magazine. 

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