Road traffic is back to pre-Covid levels in many cities and some places have become even more congested than before the pandemic. TomTom, a company specialising in location technology and satellite navigation devices, has released its annual traffic index and London took first place for as the slowest city to drive in.
1. Average speed
London was the slowest moving city in the world in 2022, according to the ranking, the average speed of motor vehicles during rush hours being of just 14 kilometres per hour (kph). Across the entire year, the average speed was 17 kph, with the fastest recorded average, during “optimal” travel times, being of 25 kph.
Around 5pm on Thursdays, when traffic is at its worst, the average speed decreases to just 13 kph. One kilometre per hour may not seem like much, but for a 10 km journey, it adds 5 minutes to travel time. TomTom estimates that, if people work from home on Thursdays, they save up to 67 hours per year from traffic, this is almost 3 days. If people work from home from Wednesday to Friday, they can save up to 199 hours per year, which is over a week’s worth of time spent in traffic.
2. Travel times
The average time it takes to cover 10 km in London increased by almost 2 minutes (1 minute and 50 seconds) last year, compared to 2021. On average, it takes 36 minutes and 20 seconds to cover this distance, but during rush hours the period increases to 40 and even 45 minutes on Thursday evenings.
However, TomTom highlights that outside the city centre, in the greater metropolitan area, traffic is not that bad. In the metropolitan areas index, London only ranked 66th on travel times, with driving speeds during rush hour averaging at 34 kph, taking just 10 minutes to cover 10 kilometres.
3. Travel cost
People driving petrol cars spent 28% more on fuel in 2022 compared to 2021, while those with diesel cars spent 33% more, according to TomTom’s research.
Driving in London’s city centre at peak hours cost petrol car drivers €924 last year, €230 of which being attributed solely to congestion. For diesel car drivers, the yearly fuel cost was €853, with €203 being attributed to congestion. Even for electric vehicle drivers the story is not much different, with €129 out of their €471 yearly fuel cost being related to traffic congestion.