HUNDREDS of people have delivered a withering verdict on Worcester's congestion - with the city's worst roads for jams finally revealed.

The findings of a major six-month investigation into traffic hold-ups by Worcester City Council have now been published, revealing the state-of-play of how delays are affecting people.

It reveals:

- A survey of nearly 500 people found 99 per cent think Worcester suffers from congestion, with almost half calling it "a high level on a daily basis"

- London Road has been labelled the city's worst route by motorists, followed by the Tything and City Walls Road

- More than one in four respondents said despite the jams absolutely nothing would prise them from their cars, while a third called for better public transport

- Worcester Bridge is the city's busiest road with a staggering 35,843 vehicles pouring over it daily, followed by Whittington Road with 28,345 and Sidbury which handles 28,325

- Incredibly, overall traffic on the city s main five roads has FALLEN 27 per cent since 2001, leading to suggestions rat-running motorists on 'B roads' and frequent roadworks are to blame for congestion

- Cycling in Worcester has proved a dismal failure, with just one per cent of all traffic in the city being people on bicycles, exactly the same as 15 years ago

The investigation was done by a team of councillors, who have spent months sourcing data from the Department for Transport (DFT), talking to organisations with a stake in the city and asking the public to take part in a traffic survey.

The most startling finding was that traffic volume, which the DFT measures per-mile, has fallen on Worcester's five main 'A roads' 27 per cent between 2001 and 2014, from 123,500,000 vehicle miles per annum to 89,607,000.

Anecdotal evidence suggests more drivers are now avoiding the main roads and using residential areas as rat-runs, a situation made worse by utility companies digging up routes all over the place.

The busiest five 'A roads' last year were the Worcester Bridge (35,843 cars daily), Whittington Road (28,345 daily), Sidbury (28,325), Nunnery Way (25,164) and City Walls Road (24,818).

Although some of the figures fluctuate, the long-term decline is reflected in the fact Worcester Bridge, as one example, had an extra 4,000 vehicles use it per day in 2011.

City councillors say they are concerned that Worcester's reputation for traffic has led to more people seeking clever ways to avoid the main five routes, clogging up the available alternatives like the Southern Link Road, Bath Road and Newtown Road.

More than 2,000 utility firms applied for temporary traffic around Worcestershire last year, around 40 per cent of which were in Worcester.

One other key finding in the research is that Worcestershire County Council said between six to eight per cent of the city's network suffers "regular congestion".

Of the 494 people who took part in the public survey, no fewer than 30 per cent said it would put them off visiting the city again, while one per cent said they would never venture back ever again.

Despite the concern 25 per cent admitted nothing can be done to tempt them from their cars, while 29 per cent called for improved public transport and 42 per cent wanted better cycle paths and storage facilities.

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FRUSTRATED councillors are concerned about some of the findings - saying they are worried about future housing growth clogging up the city entirely.

The review has also led to calls for traffic lights to be examined to see if some can be changed, or ripped out to ease the situation.

Councillor Geoff Williams, who was involved in the investigation, said: "We know that six to eight per cent of the network experiences regular congestion, and we also know there's a link to housing growth and traffic.

"In next decade or so there will be significant development on the borders of this city which could well impact on that congestion."

During a debate about the findings in a scrutiny meeting, other politicians said they were adamant Worcester's traffic is worse than ever.

Councillor Roger Berry said: "I have people in my patch, elderly people, who cannot get across Tolladine Road in rush hour.

"The big thing for me is how delicate Worcester's traffic is - if there's a problem in London Road or in Barbourne, for example, the whole city grinds to a halt.

"Something has to be done - if 'Greater Worcester' comes and we do get this significant extra housing development around the edges of the city, we really must develop other modes of transport."

He also hit out at the poor levels of cycling, saying it has "hardly changed" despite all the cycle lanes.

"You can see why - if you try cycling on A roads it's madness, you'd have to take your own life in your hands," he said.

Councillor Andy Stafford blamed roadworks, saying "every development in the city leads to road closures or temporary roadworks", while Councillor Alan Amos said some secondary routes are now his major concern.

"Drivers will instinctively go for the quickest route, so we need to look at some simple, practical things like traffic light phasing," said Cllr Amos.

"Twenty per cent of city centre traffic is people rat-running, people who don't need to be there but go that way because it's the quickest route.

"If those lights at Sidbury were not almost permanently green, rather than red, people wouldn't use Bath Road to get into the city centre, they'd say 'hang on, that's taking me longer' and go another way.

"Traffic in London Road is so bad - it used to tailback to Battenhall Road, then it was Camp Hill Road, well now it's Sebright Avenue.

"That's my experience, and everybody else's."

During the debate Councillor Lynn Denham criticised the closure of Perdiswell's park and ride, saying many visitors to the city now drive in to pay-and-display instead.

The investigation is going to lead to fresh dialogue with the county council, which is currently spending £41 million dualling the A4440 Southern Link Road and lobbying the Government over trying to piece together £70 million to do the same at Carrington Bridge.

A series of recommendations have been made by the city council's scrutiny committee, including setting up a 'joint steering group' with County Hall to explore new solutions for easing traffic.

The city council leadership is also being asked to promote public transport better, and consider asking Worcester's Business Improvement District (BID), which represents businesses, to lobby more city centre employers to set up sustainable travel plans for staff.

Today, a Worcestershire County Council spokesman said: "We await the details of the report from the city council, and will be happy to discuss matters with them further."

Bosses at County Hall get around 50 notices per day from utility companies looking to dig up roads, ranging from big jobs involving route closures to very minor ones which cause little disruption.


1. London Road

2. The Tything

3. City Walls Road

4. Castle Street

5. Barbourne Road

6. Carrington Bridge

7. Bath Road

8. Newtown Road

* See the documents yourself - click HERE to see the Department for Transport research into Worcester's traffic or HERE to see 15 pages summing up the results from the public survey.