Inrix reveals Europe’s traffic hotspots with new analytics tool


Inrix has published research on Europe’s worst traffic hotspots, which shows that although London is at the top of the European city ranking, four of the top 10 traffic hotspots are in Germany.

Using Inrix Roadway Analytics, a new traffic analysis tool and the first of its kind to be available in Europe, the company studied more than 200,000 traffic jams to identify and rank 45,662 traffic hotspots in 123 major cities in 19 European countries. Inrix also calculated the cost of congestion across all traffic hotspots to identify the price drivers in Europe are estimated to pay over the next 10 years due to time wasted in gridlock. This study is different from the annual Inrix Traffic Scorecard, which measures the total impact of congestion in terms of annual hours wasted for the typical commuter in European cities. It uses a different methodology and focuses specifically on peak hours and the busiest roads, and also adopts the statistical definition of a Larger Urban Zone (LUZ) commuter area.

Roadway Analytics has allowed Inrix to identify and cost individual ‘traffic hotspots’ that cause congestion to all drivers, and looks at all roads within a ‘city’ for every hour of the study period and identifies the hotspots that are causing the worst congestion. In the UK, Roadway Analytics identified and ranked 20,375 hotspots in 21 cities. The ranking was determined by an ‘Impact Factor’, which multiplied the average duration of a jam with its average length and the number of times it occurred in September 2016. The cost to drivers due to time wasted at these hotspots, calculated using the Department for Transport’s (DfT) ‘value of time’, amounts to £61.8bn (US$78bn) in the UK by 2025 if congestion levels are not reduced.

London had more traffic hotspots (12,776) and also the highest Impact Factor compared with all cities analyzed. The impact of hotspots in the capital was 28 times more than the average city included in the study, and more than the following four cities combined in the European ranking: Rome (Italy), Paris (France), Hamburg (Germany), Madrid (Spain). This also means London pays the highest price, with time wasted in congestion, potentially costing drivers in the capital £42bn (US$53bn) over the next decade. The research notes that congestion at the worst hotspots on the portion of the M25 between Junctions 10-17 will likely be improved by the planned Smart Motorway All Lane Running program that will be implemented within the next five years. Inrix evaluated the system’s implementation at Junctions 5-7 on the M25, and found a 52% reduction in jams.

“Only by identifying traffic hotspots and analyzing their root causes can we effectively combat congestion,” said Graham Cookson, chief economist at Inrix. “Some of the most effective traffic improvement measures have benefited from this approach, like TfL’s traffic signal optimization work, which is reducing delays by 13% and could save drivers £65m (US$82m) a year. The government has also pledged to reduce gridlock at key ‘pinch points’ on the road network.”

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International (TTi) magazine and its Traffic Technology Today website since May 2014. During his time at the title, he has interviewed some of the top transportation chiefs at public agencies around the world as well as CEOs of leading multinationals and ground-breaking start-ups. Tom's earlier career saw him working on some the UK's leading consumer magazine titles. He has a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).