Inrix predicts over 20 million vehicles will hit UK roads this Christmas causing 4 hour delays
More than 20 million vehicles will hit the road this festive period resulting in significant delays, according to data from INRIX, the global leader in connected car services and transportation analytics.
With Christmas Day falling on a Monday this year, the busiest days for traffic are predicted to occur from Wednesday 20th to Friday 22nd December. As a surge of drivers try to beat the Christmas getaway traffic, many will find themselves experiencing delays, the worst of which could exceed four hours.
In addition to people visiting their family and friends, e-commerce will be a key factor in the increase in cars on the roads, as brands look to squeeze in the last deliveries ahead of the weekend. Last year, the week ahead of Christmas saw a record number of delivery vehicles hit the roads, and drivers should be prepared for a similar situation this year.
Table 1: Wednesday 20th December – Friday 22nd December – UK’s most delayed routes, average journey times
|Date||Route||From||To||Dist (miles)||Predicted Journey Time||Freeflow (No Congestion)||Total Delay||Peak Time|
|20/12/2017||M25, Anti-clockwise||J13 A13||J24 Potters Bar||31.29||2 hrs & 28 mins||26 mins||2 hrs & 2 mins||16:15:00|
|20/12/2017||M25_Anti-clockwise||J16 M40||J7 M23||33.9||1 hrs & 22 mins||28 mins||54 mins||08:00:00|
|20/12/2017||M4_Westbound||Earls Court / A3220||J5 Colnbrook||15.05||46 mins||16 mins||30 mins||16:30:00|
|21/12/2017||M6, Southbound||J23 A580||J12 Gailey Interchange||65.32||5 hrs & 20 mins||59 mins||4 hrs & 21 mins||14:30:00|
|21/12/2017||M3, Westbound||J1||J4 Frimley||16.86||1 hrs & 38 mins||18 mins||1 hrs & 19 mins||00:45:00|
|21/12/2017||M74, Southbound||J0 Glasgow M8||J6 Hamilton||14.96||50 mins||16 mins||34 mins||18:00:00|
|22/12/2017||M1, Northbound||J11 Luton||J22 Leicester||58.7||2 hrs & 8 mins||53 mins||1 hrs & 15 mins||11:00:00|
|22/12/2017||M1, Southbound||J19 M6/A14||J12 Flitwick||44.77||2 hrs & 12 mins||41 mins||1 hrs & 30 mins||12:15:00|
|22/12/2017||M1(Northern Ireland), Westbound||J1 M2||J15 A29||40.33||1 hrs & 36 mins||38 mins||58 mins||17:15:00|
|22/12/2017||M1(Northern Ireland), Eastbound||J15 A29||J1 M2||40.24||1 hrs & 12 mins||37 mins||35 mins||16:45:00|
|22/12/2017||A720, Eastbound||J1 Millerhill||J11 A8||12.67||31 mins||12 mins||19 mins||12:45:00|
The Christmas getaway peak isn’t the only time drivers need to be aware of this year. Delays are also expected between Christmas and New Year, with Tuesday 27th December predicted to see significant delays. The volume of cars is expected to rise due to high street sales, and high numbers of people are anticipated to be out visiting family and friends, or returning home from the Christmas break. The worst hit stretches of motorway will see three hour delays on Wednesday 27th December, with high traffic volumes expected around the M25.
Dr. Graham Cookson, Chief Economist INRIX, said: “As we head into the Christmas period, when many use the roads to visit family and friends, we advise motorists to use the latest real-time traffic technology to keep up to date with the situation on the roads. Drivers would be well advised to take alternative routes or avoid driving during peak times altogether.
“The INRIX Traffic App can be used to check live traffic updates in order to find the best routes. Leaving the house with plenty of time to spare will mean drivers ensure they reach their destinations safely.” advises Cookson.
Table 2: Wednesday 27th December – Thursday 28th December – UK’s most delayed routes, average journey time
|Date||Route||From||To||Dist. (miles)||Predicted Journey Time||Freeflow (No Congestion)||Total Delay||Peak Time|
|27/12/2017||M25, Clockwise||J7 M23||J16M40||34.73||3 hrs & 41||28 mins||3 hrs & 13||12:30:00|
|27/12/2017||M25, Anti-clockwise||J13 A13||J5 M26||15.54||2 hrs & 9||14 mins||1 hrs & 55||13:00:00|
|27/12/2017||A303, Eastbound||A30 Yarcombe||A338 Cholderton||77.27||2 hrs & 50||1 hrs & 17||1 hrs & 33||16:00:00|
|27/12/2017||M4, Eastbound||J23 M48||J18 A46 Bath||19.18||1 hrs & 11||16 mins||55 mins||17:00:00|
|27/12/2017||M25, Anti-clockwise||J22 London Colney||J16 M40||15.14||1 hrs & 1||13 mins||48 mins||14:15:00|
|27/12/2017||M60, Anti-clockwise||J18 Simister Interchange||J12 Eccles Interchange||8.94||1 hrs & 4||11 mins||53 mins||13:30:00|
|27/12/2017||A34_M40_||J10 A43||A34 Abingdon||22.54||1 hrs & 5||20 mins||45 mins||12:30:00|
|27/12/2017||M4, Eastbound||J32 Cardiff North||J26 Newport/Bryglas Tunnels||13.45||53 mins||11 mins||41 mins||12:30:00|
|27/12/2017||M8, Eastbound||J29 Paisley||J13 Stirling||11.06||59 mins||11 mins||48 mins||17:15:00|
|28/12/2017||M5, Southbound||J14 Falfield||J25 Deane Gate||42.52||2 hrs & 22||35 mins||1 hrs & 47||15:30:00|
|28/12/2017||M20, Westbound||J13 Folkestone||J3 M25||49.22||1 hrs & 17||42 mins||35 mins||23:30:00|
|28/12/2017||M6, Northbound||J12 Gailey Interchange||J23 A580||55.79||2 hrs & 58||50 mins||2 hrs & 8||14:30:00|
|28/12/2017||A303, Westbound||A30 Yarcombe||A338 Cholderton||69.74||2 hrs & 48||1 hrs & 14||1 hrs & 34||15:4|
To ease the burden on motorists hitting the roads this Christmas, Highways England will be lifting almost 400 hundred miles of roadworks across the country to help ensure people travel with as little disruption as possible. That will leave 99% of the motorway and main A road network free of roadworks from 6am on 22 December until 12.01am on 2 January. By suspending or completing roadworks, more lanes will be open and many speed restrictions lifted.
Highways England’s customer service director Melanie Clarke said: “We’re doing everything we can to make journeys as smooth as possible this festive period and that’s why we’re keeping 99 per cent of the road network we manage, free from roadworks.
“Over the past two years we’ve already added 190 lane miles of much needed capacity and that will make life easier for those travelling this Christmas and New Year.”
INRIX analysis of last Christmas showed that, at the peak at around 5pm on the Friday before Christmas (23rd December), there were more than 300 traffic jams recorded by the INRIX Incident Platform. Detailed analysis using INRIX Roadway Analytics showed that the worst traffic jam was a 10-mile stretch of the A5 southbound from the junction (18) with the M1 that lasted for over 5 hours. According to analysis of the INRIX Incident Platform, this was due to a diversion that was in operation after a multi-vehicle accident around Watford Gap services closed the M1 southbound from Junction 18 (Rugby) to 16 (Daventry). The accident occurred at 10:00 on the main carriageway adjacent to Watford Gap Services, in which the air ambulance attended. The M45 east was also closed towards the M1 for much of the day.
The second worst traffic hotspot was on the A303 at Stonehenge. At its worst, traffic tailed back for 7-miles for 4.5 hours starting at 18:05. This notorious bottleneck was congested for a total of 13 hours on 23rd December fluxing in and out of congestion throughout the day.
Interestingly, the Northbound carriageway of the M1 at Junction 17 was the UK’s third most congested hotspot possibly due to people observing (rubber necking) at the serious incident on the Southbound carriageway with average speeds falling below 10 miles per hour. Other sections of the Northbound M1 were also heavily congested especially Junctions 13 through 17.
Other notable traffic jams were on the westbound M4 just outside London, the M1 in both directions in Belfast, the M74 and M8 near Glasgow, and numerous stretches of the M25 in both directions. The problems in Scotland were caused by incredibly heavy rain.