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 Brussels 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 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 France is 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.
Residents of Spain and Scandinavia are most likely to escape the jams. Only three Nordic cities make the top 20 – Oslo is 16th with 26% of roads congested, while Stockholm has just 6%.
In Spain it appears that 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?
The table was produced by leading navigation provider TomTom. Rankings are based on how fast cars can travel on a city’s road network – as measured by the 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 around a city at any time of day. IQ Routes is integrated into all TomTom maps.