Leeds drivers are stuck in the slow lane

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Motorists are having to endure life in the slow lane during the so-called rush-hour in Leeds, new figures revealed today.

The average speed of travel on roads in the city at peak periods is just 15.5mph, compared to 18.5mph at other times.

Research conducted by experts from the Direct Line insurance firm shows that the reduced speed extends a typical half-hour journey by nearly five minutes.

Their analysis also reveals that the worst day for rush-hour congestion on Leeds’s roads is Thursday.

Leeds, however, does at least fare better during busy periods than some other Yorkshire cities.

Wakefield’s average rush-hour speed is 12mph, the sixth lowest of nearly 50 UK cities studied. Other places in the White Rose county whose average rush-hour speeds feature in the research include Bradford (13.7mph) and Sheffield (14.9mph).

York, with an average peak period speed of 17.6mph, is one of the best performers nationally, along with Peterborough and Oxford. The places with the slowest rush-hour speeds are central London, Lancaster and Cambridge.

Direct Line based its study on data collected during 20 million miles’ worth of journeys by motorists using its Drive Plus ‘telematics’ devices.

The black box-style range of technology – which now includes an easy-to-install on-board plug-in device – monitors people’s driving patterns, including the time taken on different routes.

For the purposes of the research, rush-hours were classed as 8am to 9am and 4pm to 6pm.

Direct Line head of telematics Paul Felton said: “This analysis shows the real experiences of motorists across the country on their commuting journeys.

“By enabling drivers to easily keep track of their own journeys, telematics can assist motorists in making travelling as stress-free as possible by providing feedback on individual journeys, including the time and length of their journey and their acceleration, braking and overall smoothness.”

Recent efforts to ease congestion in Leeds include the start of work on the city’s biggest ever bus park and ride scheme, on land next to Leeds United’s Elland Road ground.

Express double-decker bus services will take just six minutes to reach the city centre from the 800-space site.

Supporters of Leeds’s controversial trolleybus scheme say it will also reduce congestion if it gets the green light.

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