• New research reveals parents are stuck in traffic for over 26 hours per school year 

  • Crawling in school run traffic represents over 40% of the average school run journey time

  • School run congestion to add 1 hour per week to millions of motorists’ daily commute from today  

  • Waze reveals roads to avoid on kids’ first day back...and you’ve guessed it, it’s most of them


As millions of school children head back to school after a summer break, the once quiet roads will once again be filled with tailbacks and the screams of parents for children to put their shoes on.  And whilst parents will be having a hard time, the commuting time for millions of motorists is also set to increase by 15%, according to Waze.

New research by real-time, crowd-sourced navigation app, Waze into the school run reveals a dark world of traffic and tempers. Of the parents surveyed, one in eight (13%) said that the school run is the most stressful time of the day with over half (53%) getting stuck in traffic up to three times a week. This equates to eight minutes a day which adds up to over one day (26 hours) sitting traffic over a school year*. With the average school run timed at almost 20 minutes, sitting in traffic represents over 40% of the daily journey. 

Waze data shows that drivers will be spending 10-15 minutes longer in traffic this Monday compared to any time over the last 6 weeks. In fact, today sees the biggest spike in traffic of the year, alongside 3rd January as people go back to work and kids head back to school. With traffic jam reports expected to rise by 80% on 4th September compared to the previous Monday and to be especially bad around routes leading to primary schools, it’s no surprise that parents and commuters will be at the end of their tether today.

Surprisingly, over half (54%) said they take the same route every day no matter what the traffic with over one in three (35%) admitting to not checking the traffic before they leave. Almost one in three (29%) listen to the radio for traffic reports but currently, only one in 10 (11%) use a sat-nav with live traffic updates to re-route them around tailbacks. Thankfully help is at hand. 

As the school commutes kick back in, the sat nav app will see weekly registrations grow by 100% month on month from August to September. Finlay Clark, Head of Waze UK, says the app’s weekday usage will spike by 45% on Monday 4th September as people look to find ways to outsmart the traffic.

“Every year on this day millions of people experience the frustration of seeing the relative quiet on summer roads instantly revert to the usual snarl of school run traffic.

"The good news is that we know from millions of users’ live updates how to avoid the worst of the queues – for both parents on the school run and commuters alike.

"If you find yourself in traffic, the free app provides peace of mind by suggesting the fastest and most optimal route possible to any destination, using real-time updates from fellow drivers. Users can plan drives so they can avoid the traffic at peak times to get the accurate estimate time of arrival to work or school.”

Quentin Wilson, motoring journalist and transport campaigner, says:

"The tyranny of school run traffic has to change. The September back to school rush is one of the highest congestion peaks of the entire year and the difference in traffic volumes is now agonisingly noticeable to everybody. Anything that helps us change our routes, timing and behaviours will have a huge social, economic and environmental benefit. Let’s make the school run smarter."

Notes to editors

Unless otherwise stated, all figures taken from omnibus research carried out by One Poll research on behalf of Waze. This was an online poll of 1,000 UK  parents of 4-18 year olds who drive their children to school (nationally representative sample). The research was conducted between 22ndAugust 2017 and 29th August 2017.

*8.24 average minutes per day stuck in traffic x 190 days over a school year = 1565.6 minutes. Divided by 60 minutes = 26 hours.