DRIVERS have known it for years but now it’s official – Southampton is one of the most congested places in the UK.
A new survey has placed it ninth in a league table of Britain’s most trafficchoked cities, with bigger jams even than Liverpool, Leeds and Leicester.
Southampton has also seen the fourth biggest increase in traffic over the past six months.
The findings, which will come as no surprise to the area’s long-suffering motorists, have been published by satnav firm TomTom.
But Southampton City Council has challenged the report, claiming its conclusions have been “hugely distorted” by geographical factors.
TomTom says London is Britain’s most congested city, followed by Edinburgh and Oxford.
Oxford has also seen the biggest increase in traffic since March, with the number of vehicles on its roads rising by 2.2 per cent. Belfast has witnessed the second biggest increase, followed by Bolton and Southampton.
Road congestion is estimated to cost the UK economy £20 billion a year in lost production.
Experts say a reduction of just five per cent in travel time could save businesses about £2.5 billion by cutting the number of missed appointments and speeding up delivery times.
The TomTom survey is based on traffic speed records in the 50 most congested areas across Britain between March and September.
However, its findings were disputed by Councillor Daniel Fitzhenry, the city council’s Cabinet member for environment and transport.
He said: “The traffic speed in Southampton compares well to other similar sized cities.
“The findings is this report are hugely distorted by the geography of the places we are being compared to. For example many other urban locations have long A-roads, duel carriageways and motorways running through and around them.
“This massively distorts the average traffic speeds to make it seem like those places have faster moving traffic.
“In fact, our data shows traffic speeds on Southampton’s roads are holding steady and are in some cases increasing.”
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