A new study has unveiled Europe’s 59 most congested cities for drivers – and Brussels is top of the list. Poland and the UK are also places where urban driving can be a nightmare, while Spain and the Nordic countries offer a smoother journey.
According to the study, drivers in the home of the European Commission face delays on over 37.7%of its main roads each day – narrowly beating Warsaw into top spot on the list. Another Polish city, Wroclaw, is in third place.
It’s bad news too for the Brits: despite the congestion charge, few Londoners will be surprised to find their city comes in fourth overall, while Edinburgh and Belfast also make the top 10. And before the Welsh start singing the praises of their roads, they should take note that Cardiff at number 26 is one of a further five UK cities that make the overall list.
Driving in much of Franceis a happier experience – once you can escape Paris and Marseilles, no other French city is listed. And it’s not just Germany’s autobahns that allow traffic to flow smoothly: its most congested city, Munich, comes just 28th in the list. But once they’ve made it into the table, there’s no stopping the Germans: Essen, Hamburg, Stuttgart, Cologne, Düsseldorf and Berlinare all between 31st and 38th place. With six further cities in the lower levels of the table, Germany has a greater number of congested cities than anywhere else – though this may reflect the number of large cities the country has.
Homes of happy drivers
Residents of Spain and the Nordic countries are most likely to escape the jams. Only three Scandinavian cities make the top 20 – Oslois 16th with 26% of roads congested, while its Swedish counterpart Stockholmhas just 6%.
And so much for our preconceptions of angry Latin drivers hooting their horns in fury: in Spain, it seems gridlock is relatively rare. Barcelona comes in seventeenth place, but its other major cities are all in the lower echelons of the table. Bottom of the table – and therefore best for drivers – comes Zaragoza, where just 1.5% of the roads are clogged. Is this the model other European planners need to follow?
How the rankings work
The table has been produced by leading satnav provider TomTom. Rankings are based on how fast cars can travel on a city’s road network – as measured by the anonymous speed data TomTom collects every day from drivers who use its devices. Wherever drivers were travelling at 70% or less of the speed limit, traffic was defined as congested.
The data is collected for use in TomTom’s unique IQ Routes™ technology, which calculates the fastest route round a city at any time of day. IQ Routes is integrated into all TomTom maps.