Los Angeles is the most congested city in the world - but London's not too far behind

Freeway congestion in Los Angeles, California.

A worldwide traffic survey has revealed the most congested cities in the world – with London taking seventh place, as one of only two UK cities in the top 100. Los Angeles, California took the top spot overall, with drivers in the city spending an average of 102 hours per year stuck in traffic.

The top 10 ranking was dominated by American and Russian cities. Second and third place were taken by Moscow and New York, while San Francisco and Atlanta came in fifth and tenth respectively.

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The Russian cities of Magnitogorsk and Yurga were eighth and ninth, leaving the remainder of the top 10 made up from Sao Paulo in Brazil, Bogota in Colombia and London, which took fourth, sixth and seventh places.

The report, produced by traffic data specialist INRIX, found Londoners spend an average of 74 hours per year stuck in traffic. The report analysed 1,360 cities over 2017, across 38 countries, the firm's largest survey yet.

The only other UK city in the top 100 was Manchester, which ranked 97th globally.

Worldwide, it's Thailand that suffers the most with congestion on average. Drivers there lose an average of 56 hours a year to congestion at peak times. Other honours were handed out – Belfast, for example, had the slowest traffic of any major city. Traffic there moved at 3.3mph during peak hours – slower than walking.

The survey wasn't all bad news though, noting that road improvement projects in major cities resulted in serious improvements to congestion. Schemes in Texas have cost billions of dollars over the last few years, but the results are there to see – the cities of El Paso, Austin and Dallas all saw congestion improve by nearly 10 per cent.

Closer to home, a £1.7bn infrastructure program in Scotland saw the traffic levels of Aberdeen, Glasgow and Edinburgh improve their traffic scores by 20, 15 and 10 per cent respectively.

"Whether you're a small town or a mega city, a highways agency or a department for transportation, the best starting point is intelligence. And diagnostics – good data and insight – are the key. Policymakers and transportation professionals need to know when and where congestion is worst, and exactly how bad it is in order to prioritize investments and to maximize limited budgets," INRIX said.

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