While overall levels continue to decrease, London was crowned the UK’s second most congested city after Edinburgh.
According to TomTom’s traffic index, in 2021 alone 14.8 megatonnes of CO2 were emitted as a result of London’s road traffic, of which 2.2 megatonnes came directly as a result of congestion.
“Our data shows that the environmental cost of London’s congestion is worryingly high,” said TomTom’s emissions lead Gunnar Berghauser. “To put this into perspective, the UK would need to grow a forest almost the size of Northern Ireland in one year, to capture London’s 2021 traffic-related emissions from the atmosphere.”
Diesel accounts for the majority of emissions, as vehicles release 10.6 megatonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year, while fuel cars emitted “only” 4.1 megatonnes.
Despite congestion rising in cities such as London and Edinburgh, TomTom data revealed that, overall, levels continue to go down as a result of covid-induced hybrid working patterns. Compared with 2019, only five UK cities made the world’s 100 most congested cities ranking.
“2021 was the year in which the UK’s new working habits came to the fore: home offices become standard and flexible work hours allowed many commuters to step out of rush hours,” added TomTom’s traffic expert Andy Marchant. “As a result, peak hours have decreased in all 25 UK cities included in the index.
“To effectively tackle congestion and permanently put an end to the traditional rush hour peaks, the modal split must be changed. Cycling, public transport and other modes of transport must take a larger share in transportation.”