Cost of traffic congestion in European cities revealed

New research has uncovered the worst cities in Europe for traffic congestion, identifying Dublin as the worst overall and Belfast as the most congested in the UK.

Moneybarn’s research used data from the TomTom Traffic Index to record the number of hours lost, the amount of additional CO2 produced, and the cost of fuel wasted due to congestion.

The research also highlighted which of the cities had implemented clean air zones and, for the UK, the Tom Tom data and CAZ/LEZ data were combined (meaning the UK’s scores are not directly comparable with those from Europe).

Scoring just 0.73 out of 10 Belfast had the UK’s worst Congestion Score. Drivers spend 58 hours each year stuck in traffic here, which costs them over £100 in extra fuel. 

Manchester and Brighton complete the top three of most congested. The worst placing by a city with a Low Emission Zone is Leeds, albeit that their class C CAZ  does nothing to deter any kind of private cars coming into the city.

Three of the 12 cities in the UK who have implemented a CAZ of some description are among the four least congested: Newcastle/ Sunderland, Portsmouth and Birmingham/Wolverhampton.

In other highlights, London was 13th of the 25 cities investigated, while drivers in Preston wasted the most fuel due to bad traffic, an average of £123 a year.

It might not surprise many that Dublin topped the European list. Commuters in the Irish capital spend an average of 68 hours each year stuck in traffic, wasting €164 of fuel and producing 223 kg of additional CO2. By comparison, cars in Belfast produced 143kg.

51 cities across Europe were studied, with Spain coming out of it very well. Three of the four least congested cities were found to be in Spain, with Barcelona in 16th being something of an outlier. 

Bucharest and Bern joined Dublin in the top three.


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