AN EDINBURGH route at the centre of controversial plans which would see parts of it turned into a segregated cycleway has been named as the most congested outside of London.

Motorists on a five-mile stretch of the A8 running from Princes Street to Maybury Road each spend an average of 43 hours a year stuck in traffic, according to the latest global rankings for gridlock.

It compares to an average of 101 hours a year for drivers in London – named the worst city in the world for delays.

The ranking comes amid proposals to convert parts of the city centre road between Roseburn and Leith Walk from four lanes to two in order to create a bi-directional cycleway separated from traffic. Traders and residents opposed to the plans have warned it would create "phenomenal congestion" along the route.

A public consultation closed in February and the council is still considering the plans.

Neil Greig, director of policy for the Institute of Advanced Motorists, said the new findings reignited calls for a bypass to divert traffic away from the Corstorphine area.

He said: "There's been no new road capacity in Edinburgh for decades. Clearly the tram has the potential to take some traffic off the road but that's yet to be proven, and unless the council can show that their strategy of having the tram and improving the bus network is actually getting people out of their cars, then they're going to have to revisit some road improvements on the west of Edinburgh because this is only going to get worse."

Transport Convener, Councillor Lesley Hinds, said the capital's trams and buses were both experiencing a growth in passengers, alongside increases in cycling and walking.

She added: “We are currently in the process of designing a European-style off-road cycle lane from the east to the west of the city, which would open this route up to new and less confident cyclists.

"In addition to this, we fully support car sharing and car club schemes, and will carry on working with promoters to expand these."

Outside of London, five of the 20 worst congested roads in the UK are located in Scotland, according to the data compiled by traffic analysts INRIX.

A three-mile stretch of the A739 Crow Road in Glasgow, linking Anniesland Cross and the Clyde Tunnel, was the second-worst in Scotland, with drivers typically wasting 18 hours a year in tailbacks.

A spokeswoman for Glasgow City Council, which manages the road, said it "copes with a considerable traffic demand on a daily basis". She added: "We are monitoring the route and investigating traffic signal improvements to reduce delay.”

Also among the worst 20 was a 10-mile stretch of the A720, from Musselburgh to Wester Hailes, which ranked in 10th place, and the A90 between Craigleith in Edinburgh and the Edinburgh Ring Road.

Part of the M8 in Glasgow, between the junctions for Provan and Anderston, was the fifth-worst in Scotland for gridlock and 18th in the UK.

The INRIX results are calculated using data from various sources, including fleet management companies, telematics sources, and satnav devices.

A spokeswoman for Transport Scotland, which manages trunk roads and motorways, said it was "committed to making best use of available road capacity" and encouraged drivers to plan their journeys.

She added: “Transport Scotland fully appreciates the frustration any perceived delays can cause to journeys and that is why we invest in journey time information services such as Traffic Scotland."