Data watch

January 2023 edition

New data shows the most congested places in the Heartland

Fourteen towns and cities in the Heartland are ranked in transport analysts Inrix's top 100 most congested places in the UK.

The most congested place in the region was Cambridge, ranked as 15th in the UK and 82nd globally, where traffic jams were said to have cost drivers an average of 65 hours during 2022 (compared to if they had been driving in freeflow conditions). London was named the most congested city in the world with 156 hours lost.

According to Inrix, the second most congested place in the Heartland was Luton, followed by ‘Hertford Harlow’, Aylesbury and Northampton.

Data for individual areas are available on the Inrix website

congestion data

December 2022 edition

Rail station usage reaches 60% of pre-pandemic levels

New data from the Office for Road and Rail shows that Cambridge, Oxford and Milton Keynes were the Heartland’s busiest stations in 2021/22, while entries and exits at stations across the region have recovered to an average of 60% of pre-pandemic levels.

There were 101 million entries and exits at Heartland stations in 2021-2022 compared to 36 million in 2020/21 and 169 million 2019-2020.

The number of stations in the Heartland reaching more than one million users increased from just eight in 2020/21 to 32 in 2021/22, however still short of the 51 stations recorded in 2019/20.

The stations in the Heartland which had the most entries and exits last year were Cambridge (6,952,780); Oxford (5,013,078); Milton Keynes Central (4,238,858); Watford Junction (4,127,024); and St Albans City (3,876,706). Milton Keynes Central has risen to third in the region from fifth in 2019/20 and sixth in 2020/21.

While the Heartland's overall recovery rate of 60% is broadly in line with the national picture, there were a number of stations in our region whose strong recoveries bucked the trend.

Kettering's entries and exits actually rose 10% from 2019/20 to 1.1 million in 2021/22, reflecting the May 2021 changes to EMR electric and inter-city services.

Strong recoveries at other stations with more than one millions exits and entries included:

  • Watford High Street with 82% of pre-Covid levels
  • Peterborough with 75%
  • Stevenage with 73%
  • Ely and Cheshunt with 69%
  • Potters Bar with 68%
  • Hatfield, Luton and Banbury with 66%

Stations with less than one million entries and exits with noteworthy levels of recovery included Stewartby (106%); Corby (99%); Iver (95%); Taplow (86%); Kingham (85%); Sandy (78%); Cambridge North (77%); Carpenders Park (75%) and Waterbeach (70%).

Soham in Cambridgeshire was Britain's only new station to open during 2021/22. It recorded 14,196 entries and exits over its first three and a half months from December 2021 to March 2022.

The most used station in Britain last year was London Waterloo with an estimated 41.4 million entries and exits, a decrease of 52% compared with 2019-2020.

See below the table of statistics for the stations reaching more than one million journeys.

Click here or see the file below for full data set for journeys in our region.

Table of over 1m entries and exits