London ranks as the slowest city to drive in worldwide
Geolocation technology company TomTom has released its annual Traffic Index report, which shows that London has the slowest average driving speed out of 389 cities across 56 countries. The report reveals that it took an average of 36 minutes and 20 seconds to travel 6.2 miles (10 km) in central London in 2022, which was nearly two minutes slower than the previous year. The research also found that London was the world's second most expensive city to drive in, after Hong Kong, based on the cost of petrol, diesel, and electric vehicle charging, as well as the impact of congestion on fuel consumption. The average cost to drive 10,000 miles (16,000km) in London in 2022, using fast EV charging, was approximately £2,055.
Traffic congestion on the rise
The report reveals that India's Bengaluru had the second slowest driving time at 29 minutes and 10 seconds, followed by Dublin in Ireland, Sapporo in Japan, and New Delhi in India. Several other UK cities were ranked in the top 50 for congestion, including Manchester in 24th place, Liverpool in 32nd place, and Edinburgh in 42nd place. According to TomTom's Andy Marchant, increased traffic congestion is partly attributed to people switching to road transport during rail strikes.
High costs of EV charging in London
In addition, the report found that the cost of using fast EV charge points in London was among the highest in the world. Drivers who charged their electric cars in this way to drive 10,000 miles (16,000km) in London in 2022 spent about £2,055. This was compared with approximately £1,969 in Paris, £1,888 in Brussels, £1,794 in Berlin, and £1,220 in New York.
TfL’s initiatives to manage traffic congestion
Transport for London (TfL), which manages London's roads, has been working with the city's boroughs to address the problem. The director of network management and resilience at TfL, Carl Eddleston, said that the agency is committed to making sure Londoners can move around the city safely, sustainably, and efficiently. TfL's 24/7 control centre uses data to help Londoners move around the capital, and investment in cycling, walking, and public transport has made it easier to choose sustainable ways of travelling that make more efficient use of road space. TfL has also been expanding the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) to cover the whole capital by August 2023 to reduce traffic congestion and improve air quality.
Call for real-time traffic management solutions
Marchant suggested that better traffic management based on real-time data intelligence is needed throughout the year to ensure viable traffic flows and the efficient use of city infrastructure. The report highlights that the configuration of the road network in central London contributes to the city's long travel times even without traffic. According to Marchant, there is a clear link between increased traffic congestion and London's slowest average speed in 2022.
The Traffic Index report raises concerns about the high costs of driving in London and the need for effective solutions to manage traffic congestion in the city.