Leeds traffic survey reveals £4 billion gridlock cost to UK

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A study of traffic in Leeds has revealed the huge cost to Britain of gridlock.

Congestion in urban areas is costing car-commuting households £4.4bn a year, according to the study which looks at the effect in the largest 18 urban areas.

It found the average driver in these areas spends 40 hours a year stuck in traffic jams while in London the figure was twice as high.

Congestion in the capital accounted for £2bn of the overall annual £4.4bn cost, according to the report by traffic information company Inrix and the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) .

The overall national cost was made up from three different figures – first, the cost of fuel wasted, which was £441m or £53 per household; secondly, the direct cost to the economy of commuter time wasted in traffic jams, which was said to be £2.79bn; and, finally, the indirect cost to household through higher bills, which was said to be £1.19bn, or £108 per household.

The household bills figure was compiled from higher freight and business fees as a result of company vehicles being stuck in traffic, with the additional costs being passed on to households.

Areas in the study included Leeds and Bradford as well as Hull and Sheffield.

The report says: “In the UK more than 70 per cent of the workforce commutes by car, with the average British driver spending 40 hours stuck in gridlock annually. .

“The time spent idling in traffic rather than being productive at work, as well as the fuel burned, can weigh heavily on the driver’s wallet.

“Indirectly, higher freighting and business fees as a result of company vehicles being stuck in traffic can pass on additional costs to household bills.”

Peter McNestry, chair of the Coalfields Regeneration Trust

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