BRITAIN’S motorists were given an £800 million boost in the fight against congestion by Chancellor Philip Hammond on Wednesday as he announced £90 million for the North and £23 million for the Midlands to address pinch points on roads. Overall, the Chancellor launched a new £690 million competition for English councils to tackle urban congestion. But will it be enough to get our roads moving again?

Finlay Clark, UK head of Waze, the real-time, crowdsourced navigation app, says “It’s going to take billions of pounds of new investment to address the years of chronic under investment in the road network. Our data last year revealed that average speeds in London decreased by 12% to just 17.4mph. In comparison, Birmingham has an average speed of 33mph. Furthermore, the number of traffic jams that have been reported around the capital is up by 56% last year. Overall, average speeds around the UK are decreasing as more cars take to the already congested road network so it’s a positive step to see the Government help local councils tackle urban congestion.  However, infrastructure alone isn’t the answer. Smart use of data is already being encouraged and this is being picked up globally as part of the Waze Connected Citizens Program (CCP).”

CCP is a mutually-beneficial data share which has had a measurable impact since its inception two years ago. With 147 municipal partners globally, including TfL, the scheme has seen success facilitating infrastructure planning in Rio de Janeiro to crisis response in Mexico as partners continue to develop new ways that Waze data can be utilised to best improve urban mobility. Notably, through reducing congestion in Boston, U.S, the program has helped speed up emergency response times in the city by four minutes. Launched in London at the end of 2016, TfL have access to and use the crowd-sourced data to help manage traffic for the millions of car drivers in the Capital.

Whilst the new Government spending is welcomed, there are certain steps that can be taken in the meantime to avoid the worst of the congestion.

Motorists can avoid traffic hotspots by considering alternative routes as well as re-planning routes around less busy times and roads. The free Waze app will get drivers to their destination safely and effectively in the fastest time possible by using updates from real drivers on the roads, all working together to highlight traffic hotspots through live traffic data. With 65 million Waze users worldwide sharing their daily commute with others, pooling congestion data will help solve the acute congestion issues UK the currently faces.  In the long term, it is hoped that more investment in the road network, combined with smarter use of data, will help alleviate congestion and improve urban mobility.

Waze provides peace of mind by suggesting the fastest and most optimal route possible to any destination, by tracking real-time traffic and road conditions from drivers’ phones - thus saving other local drivers time and fuel. Join this community today by downloading the free Waze app for iOs or Android at https://www.waze.com/en.