traffic jams bill for businesses
Time not moving costs money - Picture: Robert Peel

IT’S frustrating being sat in a jam going nowhere but TomTom Telematics has put a price on it – and sees the traffic jams bill for businesses approaching £1 billion.

And that’s up by almost £150 million in the past year, according to the research which highlights the importance of using telematics to cut costly time-wasting.

Latest figures revealed as part of the TomTom Traffic Index reveal congestion is costing UK businesses approximately £915 million a year in lost productivity, up from £767 million in last year’s study.

How it adds up

Congestion cost calculated as follows:

  • UK average of 129 hours lost in traffic x £7.20 (National Minimum Wage for workers 25 and over) x 985,400 light goods and heavy goods vehicles operating in the 25 cities identified by the TomTom Traffic Index as the UK’s most congested = £915,239,520.
  • An overall congestion level of 30% means that an average trip takes 30% longer than it would under uncongested conditions, for example at night.

But the actual bill is probably a great deal higher, because these calculations are based only on the 25 most congested towns and cities rather than gridlocked motorways too, with the number of commercial vehicles (985,400) just those registered in those centres, and with the cost in drivers’ pay at the National Minimum Wage, never mind fuel wastage.

Traffic across the UK’s 25 most congested cities and towns increases the time each vehicle spends on the road by an average of 129 hours a year (up from 127), which means an average commercial vehicle driver wastes more than 16 working days while sat in traffic. This translates to an approximate loss of £915,239,520 for businesses across the country.

To compound the situation, traffic has been getting continuously worse since 2010, with an average journey now taking 30% longer than it would in free-flowing conditions, up from 25%.

Beverley Wise, director UK & Ireland for TomTom Telematics, said: “Traffic remains a serious issue for business and the resulting delays have potential implications for productivity, customer service standards and even employee wellbeing.

“Unfortunately, congestion levels continue to rise and the UK economy is paying the price for this at a time when the landscape is already challenging enough, with the growth rate now expected to be just 1.5% this year.

“But, although solutions to the wider traffic problem are incredibly complex, businesses can take action now to mitigate its effect by using data to develop smarter working schedules and shift patterns that help employees avoid driving at peak times.

“Technology such as telematics can help in the move towards a more dynamic model of routing and scheduling that uses data on traffic and journey times to develop plans that minimise time on the road and can be quickly adapted in reaction to delays or changing circumstances.”

The biggest financial hit was felt in London, where £264 million is lost to traffic each year, followed by Manchester (£169,256,880) and the Birmingham area, including Wolverhampton (£144,184,320).

Overall ranking of most congested cities in UK, according to TomTom Traffic Index:

RANK (prev year) CITY Average congestion (previous year) Hours delay per vehicle per year (prev year) Annual work days lost per vehicle No of CVs Cost of congestion
1 (1) Belfast 43%   (40%) 200 (195) 25 9,900 £14,256,000
2 (4) Edinburgh 40%   (37%) 165 (158) 21 13,000 £15,444,000
3 (2) London 40%   (38%) 152 (149) 19 241,700 £264,516,480
4 (3) Manchester 38%   (37%) 169 (169) 21 139,100 £169,256,880
5 (5) Brighton and Hove 36%   (34%) 135 (129) 17 10,900 £10,594,800
6 (7) Bournemouth 36%   (32%) 140 (135) 17 9,200 £9,273,600
7 (10) Sheffield 35%   (30%) 137 (129) 17 24,100 £23,772,240
8 (6) Hull 35%   (33%) 152 (152) 19 14,600 £15,978,240
9 (9) Bristol 34%   (31%) 148 (138) 18 50,900 £54,239,040
10 (8) Newcastle & Sund’land 32%   (31%) 130 (129) 16 42,800 £40,060,800
11 (11) Leicester 32%   (29%) 140 (137) 17 17,100 £17,236,800
12 (12) Liverpool 30% (29%) 111 (110) 14 12,600 £10,069,920
13 (13) Swansea 29 % (28%) 113 (114) 14 19,200 £15,621,120
14 (17) Glasgow 29%   (26%) 129 (122) 16 24,500 £22,755,600
15 (18) Cardiff 27%   (26%) 119 (115) 15 12,600 £10,795,680
16 (16) Nottingham 27%   (27%) 120 (119) 15 10,600 £9,158,400
17 (14) Birmingham & Wolverh’ton 26%   (27%) 112 (120) 14 178,800 £144,184,320
18 (15) Leeds-Bradford 26%   (27%) 118 (125) 15 68,600 £58,282,560
19 (22) Portsmouth 25%   (23%) 102 (97) 13 17,000 £12,484,800
20 (20) Southampton 25%   (24%) 117 (117) 14 12,300 £10,361,520
21 (21) Reading 24%   (24%) 118 (120) 15 6,300 £5,352,480
22 (19) Coventry 23%   (25%) 116 (122) 14 21,400 £17,873,280
23 (24) Stoke-on-Trent 22%   (20%) 110 (104) 14 16,500 £13,068,000
24 (23) Middlesbrough 22%   (21%) 90 (89) 11 4,500 £2,916,000
25 (25) Preston 20%   (19%) 90 (82) 11 7,200 £4,665,600
TOTAL UK 30% 129 16 985,400 £915,239,520

 

 

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