Traffic congestion outside of central London is now worse than 2019 levels, according to a new analysis by the Environmental Defense Fund Europe (EDF Europe).
EDF Europe analysed data from May onwards from the Waze for Cities Programme.
They found that in the past week, average congestion on roads outside of the central London Congestion Charging Zone was 18% higher than last year.
The most congested day was September 7th, when congestion was a shocking 153% higher than 2019 levels.
The research revealed that in comparison, congestion in central London is lower than usual, the researchers have said this is probably helped by the Congestion Charge scheme and fewer visitors to the city.
However, the researchers have said the said that inner-city congestion will need to be closely monitored because there has been a steady increase over the past few weeks.
EDF has highlighted that these findings are particularly concerning for London’s air quality and they are therefore calling for urgent to reduce polluting vehicles and congestion on roads outside the city centre.
Oliver Lord, head of policy and campaigns at EDF said: ‘Traffic congestion is precisely what we should prevent as our polluted city emerges from lockdown.
‘We need to help people get around without private cars because congestion delays buses, disrupts essential trips and makes it horrible to walk and cycle.
‘This analysis is a rallying call for action, including safer streets for cycling instead of driving, more public transport connectivity and a concerted effort from business to curb the record number of vans on our streets.’
Stephen Edwards, director of policy & communications at Living Streets, added: ‘This concerning data should serve as a warning that the opportunity to embed the health and environmental benefits of fewer vehicles is not lost.
‘Better streets for walking and cycling are better for us all. We must move ahead with schemes to promote these behaviours.’
In related news, earlier this year, researchers at EDF Europe found that nitrogen oxide (NOx) pollution from diesel vehicles is significantly higher outside of central London.
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