Where will you find the worst congestion in the UK?

19th August 2021

Cars stuck in traffic

Many areas of the UK are prone to high levels of congestion. When businesses rely on their drivers getting from A to B, the idea that they might end up in a traffic jam that delays their journey is not a comforting one.

But where exactly will you find the worst congestion in the UK, and what steps can you take as a fleet manager to help your drivers avoid it?

Which UK cities have the worst congestion?

The amount of congestion that a city experiences is measured in a percentage. For example, if a journey should take 10 minutes (judging by the distance and speed limits) but the city in question has a congestion level of 50%, the journey is more likely to take 15 minutes to complete.

The five most congested cities in the UK are:

Edinburgh – 41%
(Global rank – 33)

London – 38%
(Global rank – 45)

Brighton & Hove – 35%
(Global rank – 63)

Bournemouth – 34%
(Global rank – 69)

Hull – 34%
(Global rank – 73)

Belfast, Southampton, Bristol, Manchester and Reading are also not far behind with congestion levels between 32% – 33%.

Hull, Brighton and Bournemouth being so high is particularly interesting. None of them are within the top 15 largest UK cities by population. London and Edinburgh being the two most congested cities is not so surprising on the other hand, since they are both capital cities of their respective countries.

Why is congestion so costly to businesses?

Obviously, the more time your drivers spend on the road, the more productive your business will be. However, what happens to the productivity of your fleet when your drivers are stuck in congestion?

Unfortunately, the average delivery driver for example spends up to 16% of their drive time sat in congestion. Assuming your drivers are on the road for 8 hours a day, they’ll spend an entire 37 days a year sat in traffic. Your business is paying the drivers but their productivity is being stunted by congestion.

With fuel costs rising steadily over the last few months, you want to make sure every penny of fuel is being utilised to it’s maximum potential. Sending drivers out on deliveries for them to be sat in traffic for nearly 1/5 of their entire day certainly isn’t making the most of your fuel.

What can be done to combat congestion?

The most obvious solution to avoid the worst congestion in the UK is to examine your route. Is there an alternative way your drivers could be going? A route that takes you around the edge of a city for example would of course take longer in terms of mileage, but would it actually save time by avoiding the heavy congestion? After all, you’ll burn more fuel stopping and starting your vehicle than moving continuously at a steady speed.

If you are caught in traffic, remember that gentle acceleration in the highest safe gear will keep your fuel consumption low. The problem with congestion is that you’re not moving quick enough, but have no illusion that starting and stopping quickly will make any difference to this fact!

Unfortunately, there’s not too much you can do to avoid heavy traffic jams. If your route requires that you drive through an area prone to heavy congestion, could your route be driven at a different time? Driving outside of rush hour will of course reduce your chances of getting caught in heavy traffic.

Additionally, consider whether you could remove any unnecessary weight from your vehicle. The heavier your vehicle, the more fuel you will burn when stopping and starting in traffic. Remember that more fuel will be burned if you are using your car’s other systems such as air conditioning or heating. If you get stuck in traffic, open a window instead.

As a fleet manager, it’s a good idea to make sure your drivers are aware of these tips. This is especially true if you know that they will be driving through congested areas.

Cars driving in motorway traffic at night

Keeping your fuel consumption low has never been this easy

With a fuel card from our range of branded cards, you could be making great savings on your fuel costs.

Additionally, our Tele-Gence technology can be used to give your drivers a better view of their situation. Live traffic updates can give your drivers the information they need to steer clear of long queues of traffic. You’ll also be given updates on their driving habits so you’ll know if they’re burning unnecessary fuel.

Tele-Gence also syncs seamlessly with your fuel card account, making them the perfect pairing for keeping your fuel costs and consumption as low as possible. Get in touch today and see how we could help you.