Guess which is the UK’s most congested city? (It’s not London)

 
Harriet Green
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According to new stats compiled by TomTom, the most congested city in the UK isn’t London, it’s Belfast.

London comes in a close second, but Belfast outstrips the capital, Birmingham, Leeds and Glasgow - all cities with far higher populations.

It’s home to just 286,000 people, and 480,000 in the metropolitan area, but traffic delays there now amount to over four days across the year.

According to TomTom, congestion globally is worse on secondary roads than on main ones. On average, commuters there spend eight working days each year sitting in traffic.

Interestingly, it estimated that rat runs actually add 50 per cent more to travel time journeys, with people just thinking they’re speeding up because they’re still moving.

TomTom uses its in-car devices to compare travel times during peak hours and non-congested periods. It calculates the difference, giving as a percentage increase in journey times. UK cities are as follows:

1 Belfast - 36 per cent

2 London - 34 per cent

3 Edinburgh - 34 per cent

4 Bristol - 32 per cent

5 Brighton and Hove - 31 per cent

6 Manchester - 26 per cent

7 Leeds - 26 per cent

8 Sheffield - 26 per cent

9 Liverpool - 25 per cent

10 Nottingham - 25 per cent

Belfast's problem is intriguing as it’s not the case that the majority of commuters are just getting in their cars of a morning: over half of those heading into Belfast at peak time are using public transport, walking or cycling, according to Northern Ireland's Department of Regional Development.

TomTom chief executive Harold Goddijn commented: "Traffic congestion is nothing new and continues to be a global challenge."