In Europe, drivers in Belgium and Netherlands spent most hours in traffic congestion (2013)

A new report from leading traffic information and driver services provider INRIX has found that drivers in Belgium and the Netherlands spent the longest time in traffic in 2013 of all European motorists.

According to the 2013 Annual INRIX Traffic Scorecard, Belgian drivers spent approximately 58 hours sitting in traffic in 2013, the same length of time as in 2012. Dutch motorists spent around seven fewer hours in traffic jams in 2013 than in 2012, but the approximately 44 hours spent in traffic over the year was still enough to earn them second place in the European rankings. Luxembourg drivers spent the fifth longest amount of time in traffic in 2013, just ahead of drivers in the UK.

INRIXAccording to the amount of hours wasted annually by drivers, Europe’s worst countries for traffic congestion in 2013 were:

2013 Rank 2012 Rank Country Hours Wasted in Traffic in 2013 Hours Wasted in Traffic in 2012 Change in Hours Wasted from 2012 to 2013
1 1 Belgium 58 58 no change
2 2 Netherlands 44 51 -7
3 4 Germany 35 36 1
4 3 France 35 37 -2
5 6 Luxembourg 31 28 3
6 5 United Kingdom 30 29 1
7 10 Italy 24 21 3
8 9 Switzerland 25 22 3
9 7 Austria 22 25 -3
10 11 Ireland 20 19 1
11 8 Spain 17 25 -8
12 12 Hungary 9 15 -6
13 13 Portugal 6 11 -5

The INRIX Scorecard found that traffic congestion in Europe rose in 2013 for the first time in two years as traffic congestion across Europe increased approximately 6 percent in the last three quarters of the year. Despite this, traffic congestion still fell by 2.5% across Europe as a whole for 2013 because of the significant fall in Q1 2013.

“So goes traffic, so goes the economy,” said Bryan Mistele, president and CEO, INRIX. “While bad news for drivers, increases in traffic congestion in Europe are signs of a slowly recovering economy.”

The INRIX Scorecard analysed traffic in major metropolitan areas across Europe, providing a comprehensive snapshot into the intractable issues of urban traffic congestion. There are eight cities in total from Belgium and the Netherlands in the top 25 most congested cities in Europe. Brussels is the busiest city in Europe, with drivers there wasting an average of approximately 83 hours in traffic in 2013. London is in second position, closely followed by Antwerp and Rotterdam. According to the report, the top 25 most congested cities in Europe and annual average hours wasted in traffic are:

 

2013 Rank 2012 Rank Metropolitan area Hours Wasted in 2013 Annual Change in Hours from 2012
1 1 Brussels 83 0
2 3 London commute zone 82 9
3 2 Antwerp 78 1
4 4 Rotterdam 63 -8
5 5 Stuttgart 60 -5
6 9 Cologne 56 -2
7 13 Milan 56 5
8 6 Paris 55 -8
9 10 Ghent 54 1
10 15 Karlsruhe 53 5
11 8 Amsterdam 50 -9
12 11 ‘s Gravenhage 49 -3
13 14 Dusseldorf 49 -2
14 12 Hamburg 48 -3
15 7 Utrecht 48 -13
16 19 Gr. Manchester 46 1
17 18 Munich 44 -0
18 17 Lyon 44 -3
19 22 Grenoble 42 1
20 20 Charleroi 41 -1
21 16 Bordeaux 41 -5
22 23 Ruhrgebiet 40 0
23 21 Toulouse 39 -1
24 24 Merseyside 39 2
25 25 S. Nottinghamshire 39 3

The Traffic Situation in Mainland Europe in 2013

INRIX analysed data from 13 European countries and the congestion landscape generally aligned closely with each country’s economic outlook. Those nations struggling with high unemployment and low or negative growth in 2013 typically recorded lower traffic congestion than in 2012. Spain and Portugal are both examples of this trend: in 2013 Spain’s economy contracted by 1.2%[1] and Portugal experienced record unemployment.

The data shows a marked difference from 2012 where all of the European countries saw decreases in congestion. In 2013, five nations recorded increases in congestion according to the INRIX Index: the UK, Ireland, Switzerland, Luxembourg and Italy. The Swiss[2] and British economies both grew by 1.9% in 2013. Although full-year figures have not been released for Ireland and Luxembourg, estimates show that Ireland is expected to grow by 1.3%[3] and Luxembourg by 1.9%[4] in 2013. The general trend is that the countries showing increased congestion have a positive economic outlook, while those economies still struggling are experiencing less congested roads.

The INRIX Index represents the barometer of congestion intensity. For a road segment with no congestion, the INRIX Index would be zero. Each additional point in the INRIX Index represents a percentage point increase in the average travel time of a commute above free-flow conditions during peak hours. An INRIX Index of 30, for example, indicates a 20-minute free-flow trip will take 26 minutes during the peak travel time periods with a 6-minute (30 percent) increase over free-flow.