Traffic congestion 'worse' in Belfast than in London

TRAFFIC congestion is worse in Belfast than in London, according to a survey. The situation has worsened in the past year and drivers who take 'rat-run' shortcuts in an effort to avoid traffic jams could actually be slowing down their journey, the survey found.

Traffic information company TomTom found that commuters are now spending 10 working days a year stuck in traffic compared with nine days a year ago.

Congestion at the busiest times on local roads is twice as bad as on main highways, the poll revealed.

Belfast was the most congested city, with the worst periods 36 per cent more congested than the free-flowing ones.

London and Edinburgh were the next worst-congested cities, followed by Bristol, Brighton, Manchester, Leeds-Bradford and Sheffield.

The survey also revealed that congestion in cities across the UK has got significantly worse over the past year.

Average journeys in 2013 took 27 per cent longer than they would in free-flowing traffic - up from a figure of 26 per cent in 2012.

Of the 17 biggest cities, only two were less jammed in 2013 than in 2012, with congestion worsening in 10 and staying the same in the other five.

The biggest increases were in Sheffield and Leicester.

The company also released figures for cities around the world that showed Moscow was the most-congested destination, followed by Istanbul and Rio de Janeiro, which will be one of the main football World Cup venues this summer.

TomTom chief executive Harold Goddijn said traditional methods of combating traffic jams were no longer working.

"Traffic congestion is nothing new, and continues to be a global challenge," he said.

"The traditional responses to congestion - such as building new roads or widening existing ones -are no longer proving to be effective."

* CHAOS: Traffic chaos in Belfast city centre