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Transportation

London Has the Worst Traffic Congestion in Europe

An interesting, concerning insight into Europe’s commuters, public transit, and pollution
Traffic on London's M25 Orbital highway.
Traffic on London's M25 Orbital highway.Peter Nicholls/Reuters

London has the worst traffic congestion in Europe—but its citizens are also among the most satisfied in Europe with their public transit. This is one of the apparent idiosyncrasies laid out in the Eurostat’s new Urban Europe Report. The report paints a striking and sometimes stark picture of European cities only just managing keep their streets fluid. Take the figures below as an example.

London’s congestion isn’t just the worst, it’s the worst by a country mile. The average driver in the London area loses 101 hours a year in traffic, 28 more hours than an average driver in the second worst city, Stuttgart. Given the effort London has put into improving public transit and introducing “congestion charging,” this might come as a surprise. The results are so bad because it seems that London’s public transit and anti-congestion efforts have done little to change anything beyond the city’s official limits, out in the wider London metro area. Conditions out there are indeed locally notorious, especially on the orbital highway—and with some train operators now well-known for cancelled services, things aren’t a lot better on the rails either.