WINCHESTER has been named as one of the most stress-free cities for commuting motorists.

In a survey that tracked people’s journeys across 49 cities, it was revealed that commuters travel at 19.99mph, whilst neighbouring Southampton was exposed as one of the 10 most gridlocked — with traffic there moving just 2mph quicker than in the heart of London, at an average 12.64mph.

Thursdays are the worst days to travel in Southampton, while Fridays are judged to be the worst in Winchester.

The figures were measured by insurance firm Direct Line, and drew on three billion speed and location observations in 20 million miles of data logged by motorists between April 2012 and December last year.

Prof Chris Turner, chief executive of Winchester Business Improvement District (BID), said he is pleased about the results.

“I think people worry far too much about coming in to the city,” he said.

“I think with the new 20mph speed limit and the road traffic plan, although there may be some small problems, the reality is that for a very vibrant and modern city it is actually much easier to get in to the middle of than many others.

“People will think the city they commute in to is appalling, but in comparison to others, Winchester is actually a very pleasant place to drive.”

However, Chris Holloway, director of Winchester Action on Climate Change (WinACC), thinks the survey should have also focussed on other aspects of travel in the city.

“I think they are missing the point,” she said.

“I don’t drive, so I don’t know about that, but the point is how stressful it is to walk, cycle, or get to work by other means.

“We in WinACC don’t want a city that is organised to make life easier for people to drive to work; we want it to be nicer for people living here.

“Just to look at how stressful it is to drive about is pointless.”

Former Winchester City Council transport leader, Cllr Victoria Weston, said: “I think that does show that Winchester is not as congested as it is constantly reported as.

“It’s important to talk about the 20mph scheme we are doing — I think that makes this more viable.”