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Cockneys, Cricket and Congestion: Britain has busiest roads in Europe

When I say ‘Britain’ to those of you who do not live here, you probably have numerous images that spring to mind. The Queen, Buckingham Palace, Fish and Chips, Posh people, Cricket, Rugby, The Beatles, David Beckham, Doctor Who, Russell Brand, Cockneys… If I collaborated all of the outside opinions of my home land I am sure the list would go on for light years. However, when it comes to the United Kingdom, I bet you the word you hear more than most is ‘London’, and the next logical step would be the ‘London Cab’ or the ‘Routemaster Buses’. Essentially, the heartland of the tourist impression of Britain is the transport system in the capital. It is at this crossroad that the dream and reality collide in an explosion of opinion and ridiculousness. If you ask any Brit, or most specifically a Londoner what they associate most with their country, chances are their answer will actually be very similar to ‘London’, ‘taxi’ and ‘bus’ in that they are all a contributory factor to the horror that befalls us all.

Congestion. Traffic. A stationary hell on wheels.

And following research undertaken by World Bank, the ever-British moaning has been confirmed; Britain has the most congested roads in Europe. And within the UK itself, London is the very eye of the traffic storm.

So, what are the statistics here?

  • There are 77 vehicles per square kilometer of road
  • This number is 76% higher than the general European average

The fun does not end there, the research has even identified the congestion down to the street level:

  • The top 10 busiest roads are ALL in London
  • Two of the high scorers are Bedford Road in Clapham (South London) and Greenhill Way in Harrow (North West London)
  • But there can only be one winner, and that is Jamaica Road in Southwark

I know what you are probably wondering, and to answer your question, Jamaica Road is so congested that during peak times, traffic has been recorded to be moving at 0.08mph. To put that into perspective, take your average walking pace and try walking around 30 times slower. How is that even possible? Exactly dear readers, the traffic on the road is THAT bad.

If we take the premise that Britain is the most congested country, it does bring with it some potential positives. If we do have a lot of traffic, it means that the cars on the roads are not travelling as fast. And if Britain follows in the tracks of development, there will be more and more cars on the road, which will only slow us down even more.

The increase in traffic therefore may decrease the number of road traffic accidents and subsequently human injury or death. Of course such a statement is implying a direct causal correlation between the two. Just because the traffic is moving slower does not necessarily mean there will be less incidents and injury. Perhaps I am being typically British and hurling cynicism into the mix here. But the statistics do appear to agree with me on this in that British roads have been named as the safest in the world; in the 1970s there were around 7,700 road deaths and yet last year there were only around 1,800.

So maybe, next time you find yourself in Britain, just remember that it is not all Beatles, Beckham and Buckingham Palace. Next time you find yourself with London on the brain, I can promise you that I will most likely be stuck in some endless traffic jam, praying for some sanity and some road freedom.

I hope you have a nicer time of it in Australia, I would love to hear about your driving experiences. Britain has been named the most congested in Europe, but how does it compare to the rest of the world?

Let me know on Twitter @lewisglynn69!

Keep Driving People!

Peace and Love!