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Traffic jams are price of strong economy

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Traffic jams are price of strong economy
For residents of Cologne this is becoming an ever-more familiar site. Photo: DPA
11:26 CEST+02:00
A report released on Monday claims that Germans are paying a price for their country's economic success – they're spending longer than ever sitting in traffic on their daily commute.

The average German driver spends 39 hours a year sitting in traffic, meaning Germany is the third most congested country in Europe, the report by INRIX, a company which analyses GPS data, suggests.

Only Dutch and Belgians have to spend more time in traffic, where yearly delays of 41 hours and 51 hours respectively are the norm.

“The growth of the Germany economy, which has led to an increase in construction projects nationwide, and the steady rise of urban populations have resulted in a higher demand for road travel, which in turn has significantly increased congestion across the country,” INRIX CEO Bryan Mistele said.

In all 17 of the 22 German cities which were analysed for the report saw an increase in congestion in comparison with 2013, a result which  attributed to Germany's strong economic growth.

Cologne takes unwelcome first place

According to the study Cologne is now the city where commuters spend most time staring at another car's tail lights, overtaking Stuttgart the previous traffic jam king.

Whereas Stuttgarters had to deal with 64 hours of delays in 2014, Cologne commuters spent 65 hours on average in traffic, the study found.

Cologne's population rose by one percent in 2014, while a multitude of building projects have hampered traffic in the city, leading to the average time spent in traffic rising by a staggering 9 hours in comparison with 2013.

The result places the west German city at number three overall in Europe, although Kölners can still count themselves lucky they don't have to deal with the 74 hours residents of Brussels spend in traffic queues or the 96 hours each year Londoners wait in logjam.

No end in sight

For Professor Michael Schrekenburg, traffic expert at the University of Duisberg Essen, the problem is not likely to go away any time soon.

“Now more than ever roads are the most attractive route for transportation and this trend will continue over the next few years,” said the academic.

 “With Germany being the top transit country in Europe, where the most vehicles, private and commercial, pass through to other countries, an increase of congestion is inevitable despite Germany having good infrastructure in place," Schrekenburg added.

INRIX analyses trillions of real-time data points from over a hundred sources including crowd-sourced data from a variety of commercial vehicles, including taxis, airport shuttles, service delivery vans, long haul trucks as well as consumer vehicles and mobile devices.

The study appears to contradict a report published by GPS company TomTom in March which claimed that in 2014 Stuttgart was still the city with the worst congestion.

That report claimed that commuters are stuck in traffic on average for 84 hours every year in the southwestern city.

SEE ALSO: Traffic deaths rise in first half of 2015

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