INRIX, a provider of traffic information and intelligent driver services, has revealed the contents of its traffic scorecard study which show that European congestion decreased by 17% in 2011.

INRIX’s traffic scorecard analysis indicates that the reduction in the traffic congestion is due to the European debt crisis, high rate of unemployment, and rising prices of fuel in the 13 nations studied.

INRIX Europe senior vice president Stuart Marks said so goes traffic, so goes the economy.

"Traffic congestion is an excellent economic indicator telling us whether people are going to work, businesses are shipping products and consumers are spending money," Marks added.

"As the European Union decides how to best help countries like Spain and Italy, the report not only validates the extent of the debt crisis in these countries but indicates who might be next."

The countries with the largest drop in the traffic congestion are the most impacted by the European debt crisis.

The INRIX traffic scorecard placed the UK fourth on its list of Europe’s top ten worst countries for traffic congestion in 2011.

The UK recorded an 11% decrease in the traffic congestion in comparison to the country’s traffic congestion in 2010, which is less than the decreased percentage of the worldwide traffic congestion.

The traffic scorecard report also analysed the traffic on Europe’s major motorways and created a list of the top 25 most congested cities in Europe, and ranked UK cities Manchester and London as fifth and eighth respectively.

The scorecard also studied the UK’s 18 largest metropolitan areas and placed the Greater Manchester and London Commuter Zone in the first two positions respectively on the list of the top ten most congested cities in the UK.

According to the INRIX Index, Europe’s top ten worst countries for traffic congestion in 2011 were:

1. Belgium
2. The Netherlands
3. Italy
4. The UK
5. Spain
6. France
7. Germany
8. Austria
9. Portuga
10. Switzerland

The INRIX traffic scorecard measures the traffic congestion by analysing real-time data crowd-sourced from actual vehicles travelling on the major metropolitan roadways.