London is world's 'most congested city' as life gets back to normal after Covid

Traffic on the A13 in London as millions of people are braced for disruption to Christmas Eve
Traffic on the A13 in east London Credit: PA

London’s roads remain the most congested in the world as life is “returning to normal” as the impact of the coronavirus pandemic recedes, new figures show. Drivers in the capital spent an average of 156 hours sitting in traffic in 2022, according to a report by traffic information supplier Inrix. It is the second year in a row that London has topped the global congestion ranking, which covers more than 1,000 cities across 50 countries. The length of time lost to jams in the city is 5% above pre-coronavirus levels. London was ranked the world’s eighth most congested city in 2019.

'Must manage congestion'

Bob Pishue, transportation analyst and author of the report, said: "It is great to see civic and commercial life returning to normal, but unfortunately we’re seeing congestion inching closer to, if not exceeding, pre-pandemic levels. "We must manage congestion while improving mobility and accessibility in cities to avoid it hurting economic recovery and impacting the quality of life of commuters and residents."

Chicago in the US was found to be the world’s second most congested city last year, with drivers spending an average of 155 hours stuck in traffic. That was followed by the French capital Paris (138 hours) and the US city of Boston (134 hours). Bristol has the UK’s second worst road congestion (91 hours), followed by Manchester (84 hours), Birmingham (73 hours) and Belfast (72 hours).

The UK’s five most congested road corridors were all found in London:

  • 1. The most severe was the A219 southbound from Fulham to Morden – a major route out of the capital – on which drivers lost an average of 47 hours last year. This was partly due to delays caused by the closure of Hammersmith Bridge to motorised vehicles

  • 2. A202E/B from Neathouse Place to B215 Peckham Hill Street

  • 3. A406 North Circular Road E/B from A1 Falloden Way to A110 Bowes Road

  • 4. A24 S/B from A205 The Avenue to A238 Merton High Street

  • 5. A205 E/B from A215 Norwood Road to Ravensbourne Road

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