Traffic congestion costs London businesses £237m each year

 
Rebecca Smith
London was the second most congested UK city after Belfast in 2015
London was the second most congested UK city after Belfast in 2015 (Source: Getty)

Congestion in the capital has long been a bugbear for drivers, passengers and residents alike.

And TomTom's Traffic Index, which measures congestion on the roads in 295 cities, has found it's also proving costly for London's businesses. Research it conducted noted that traffic in the capital increases the time each vehicle spends on the road by 149 hours a year, more than 19 working days.

It said that equates to a cost of £237m in time spent sitting in traffic for the 237,600 commercial vehicles operated in London. And of the nation's most congested cities, London suffered the biggest financial hit in lost productivity from this, followed by Manchester (nearly £158m).

Read more: Sadiq Khan wants VW to cough up £2.5m in congestion charges for the capital

"Traffic congestion may be seen as a fact of life for every driver but, cumulatively, it is taking a heavy toll on the UK economy and this should not be accepted as an inevitability," said Beverley Wise, director UK & Ireland for TomTom Telematics.

"Making the most of billable time is key to profitability for any business, so organisations that rely heavily on a mobile workforce must look for ways to maximise the time employees spend actually doing jobs by minimising time spent on the road."

Cost to business for the UK's 10 most congested cities and towns

Rank

City/town

Average congestion 2015

Working days lost per vehicle per year

No. of goods vehicles registered in area

Cost to business

1

Belfast

40%

24

9,700

£12,673,050

2

London

38%

19

237,600

£237,196,080

3

Manchester

37%

21

139,300

£157,729,390

4

Edinburgh

37%

20

12,600

£13,338,360

5

Brighton

34%

16

10,800

£9,334,440

6

Hull

33%

19

13,400

£13,646,560

7

Bournemouth

32%

17

8,800

£7,959,600

8

Newcastle

31%

16

8,700

£7,519,410

9

Bristol

31%

17

47,300

£43,733,580

10

Sheffield

30%

16

23,600

£20,397,480

Read more: This is how much Londoners will pay to live in the congestion charge zone

Last month, the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) warned a "dramatic rethink" was needed in how the capital's traffic is dealt with.

It made recommendations in a submission to the London Assembly's Transport Committee congestion investigation, noting the capital was fast approaching "mega-city status". It also warned congestion measures previously introduced – such as the congestion charge – may not be as effective these days.

One of its suggested measures includes moving as many business deliveries as possible from the 7am-11am morning peak, where freight vehicles account for 25 per cent of traffic, and investigate night slots as an option.

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