Traffic levels in the UK’s biggest cities were 14% higher in 2015 they were in 2010, the annual TomTom Traffic Index has revealed.

According to the telematics giant, average UK journeys in 2015 took 29% longer than they did in free-flowing traffic – up from 25% in 2010.

TomTom claimed that the morning rush hour was 10% more congested last year, while the evening peak is nearly 20%, suggesting that people return home in a narrower time period than before.

The BusinessCar Techie-winning sat-nav firm said that congestion has become 4% worse in 2015 compared with 2014, with traffic levels rising in 17 of the UK’s 25 most congested cities, with a further 4% remaining the same.

The TomTom Traffic Index analysed traffic patterns in 295 cities globally and found that Belfast was the most congested city in the UK – and 14th worst in the world.  Morning commutes in 2015 were 40% slower than free-flow traffic throughout the day – peaking at 86% longer in the evening rush hour.

“Transport authorities are managing congestion with well-engineered policies, but you can’t just build your way out of traffic jams”, said Ralf-Peter Schaefer, vice-president of TomTom Traffic.”

“Building new motorways and ring roads doesn’t eliminate congestion.  More must be done to better manage existing road space and to spread demand,” he added.