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Transportation

London's Traffic Really Is Moving More Slowly

Major construction across the city is clogging up the roads, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.
A rendering of planned cycle lanes for London's Westminster Bridge.
A rendering of planned cycle lanes for London's Westminster Bridge.TfL

According to new figures this week, London traffic is moving far more slowly than it once was. Back in 2012, the average speed on London’s roads was 19.33 miles per hour, dropping to 8.98 in the streets of Central London. This year, according to Transport for London, London cars are driving at an average of just 16.5 miles per hour, falling to 7.4 miles per hour in the city core.

The reason for this isn’t some spontaneous outburst of careful driving. In the intervening years, London’s streets have clogged. Roads that once saw a steady if stately stream of traffic now witness an excruciating crawl. The causes of this newly thickened, syrupy traffic flow are various, a perfect storm of factors that altogether must have regular drivers groaning in frustration. The good news, however, is that some of the reasons for the slow-down aren’t at all bad.