Tom Tom identifies best road for summer drive


With 31 million Brits set to drive their way into summer, psychologist Dr. David Holmes has developed a formula to identify the 25 Ultimate Summer Drives (USD) in Europe.

Dr. Holmes looked at elements of the driving experience that are important to the planning of a summer route, including the number of bends and hills, volume of traffic, type of scenery and even the weather; and combined these with the findings from TomTom’s study of 14,000 drivers from across Europe.

Taking insights from this study, and his expertise in human behaviour, Dr. Holmes developed the Ultimate Summer Drive (USD) formula to help drivers experience the best drive possible this summer.

The Ultimate Summer Drive (USD) =

((P+T) x (R+SC)) x100/21.3333

T = Type of Road

SS = Slope and Skew

AT = Amount of Traffic

P = Stopping Points

R = Remoteness of Road

SC = Surrounding Scenery

W = Weather

The USD formula outputs a ‘Perfect Drive’ percentage score that can be used to identify the best routes to drive on.

On cracking the code, Tom Brown, Vice-President, TomTom UK said: “There are so many incredible journeys with jaw-dropping views all over the world to explore, which a summer road trip can help you discover.

“TomTom’s Ultimate Summer Drive formula, and key features within our devices, including Lifetime Maps and up-to-the-minute accurate traffic information, make driving on Europe’s most incredible routes easier, and more enjoyable than ever. Summer driving should be relaxed and exciting – driving to be enjoyed and relished. We know that driving is a passion for many people in the UK – and we’re sure that the 25 best summer driving routes that we’ve identified will be debated by car enthusiasts across the country!”

Developed using variables identified in the research, the USD formula will make planning a summer road trip easier than ever:

Incredible (Instagram ready) views: 70% of drivers identified great scenery as key to a holiday drive but this scenery has to be social media friendly with 15% of drivers admitting that photo ready views are a deciding factor in the success of a road trip.

A great road: For one in four drivers, the road itself is key to a drive’s success with two-lane roads combined with gentle bends, positive camber change and good forward vision identified as the ultimate road combination.

(Near) empty roads: One in five people cited a remote road that lets you veer slightly off the main path to discover somewhere new (yet with the occasional, reassuring passing car) as being what makes a drive epic, and key to the USD formula.

Regular stop off points: Well-spaced, regular pull-off points every 30 miles or so with basic facilities and unexpected views helps drivers stay relaxed and energised.

Great weather: Warmth and a light breeze provide the perfect summer driving conditions.

Unveiling the Ultimate Summer Drive

The Atlantic Ocean Road in Norway came out top across Europe when mapped against the formula, with its blend of spectacular views, quality roads and perfect light conditions throughout the summer making it the Ultimate Driving Experience in Europe.

The rest of the top five Ultimate Summer Drive roads in Europe is made up of:

Estoril Ocean Drive, Portugal

Lake Como, Italy

The Peloponnesus, Greece

The North Coast 500, Scottish Highlands

Commenting on the formula and the top five roads, Dr. Holmes said: “Holiday driving can combine the thrill of the new and novel with a sense of adventure, unlocking a sense of excitement and freedom. Planning a route using my formula before you embark on your summer adventure will help you make the most of your drive and enhance your overall holiday experience.”


Notes to Editors

Research data

The European research was conducted by Censuswide with fieldwork conducted in May 2016. Data was secured via an online survey and the sample consisted of 14,000 adults over the age of 18 with driving licenses, in: the UK, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Belgium and The Netherlands (2,000 from each country).

*68% of UK citizens surveyed said they plan to drive on holiday this summer. With the UK driving population currently at 45.5 million we can safely assume 30,940,000 (just under 31 million) Brits will be driving this summer.

TomTom’s 25 Ultimate Summer Drives in Europe:

The routes have been split into five categories and the featured roads are as follows:

Best Coastal Roads

Amalfi Coast – Italy
Ireland’s Causeway Coastal Route – Ireland
Costa Brava – Spain
Estoril Coast Drive, Portugal
Dalmatian Coast – Croatia

Best Woodland Roads

Route 500 Schwarzwald Hochstrasse, Black Forest – Germany
A5 Chirk to Bethesda via Snowdonia Park – Wales
Los Alcornocales national park – Spain
New Forest – England
Lake Como – Italy

Best Mountain Roads

Furka Pass – Switzerland
The Stelvio Pass – Italy
Grossglockner Hochalpenstrasse – Austria
Col Volteux – France
Trollstigen – Norway

Most Epic Road Trip Drives

The North Coast 500, Scottish Highlands
Atlantic Ocean Road – Norway
Route One – Iceland
Wild Atlantic Way – Ireland
Basque Circuit – Spain, France

Best Historical Drives  

Route Napoleon, Alpes-Maritimes – France
Romance Road – Germany
The Marguerite Route – Denmark
The Peloponnesus – Greece
Transfagarasan – Romania

Additional information on Dr. David Holmes’ driving formula

Use the below tables to score your summer driving experience using our scientific formula:

Type of Road (T)

The Class of road you will mostly travel Score
Motorway 1
A Road 2
Single file B and back country road 3
2 lane B or unclassified road 4

Slope and skew (SS):

How would you describe your road’s trajectory? Score
Gentle bends with positive camber 1
Flat and straight 2
Blind S-bends with negative camber 3


Amount of Traffic (AT): 

What traffic are you expecting? Score
The occasional other car 1
A few vehicles ahead and behind 2
Heavy traffic 3

Stopping points (P)

How would you describe your stop off facilities Score
No stopping facilities at all unless you mount the verge 1
Simple pull-offs with no services 2
Frequent full services with tourist centres and fast food 3
Well-spaced stops at scenic points hidden from the road 4

Remoteness of Road (R)

How remote are the roads you will travel? Score
My main journey to a busy resort 1
Partly familiar main route 2
Unknown tracks that may lead to farmyards 3
Looks completely untraveled but is still on the Sat Nav 4

Surrounding Scenery (SC):

How would you describe your expected scenery? Score
Crash barriers and service stations 1
Flat fields as far as can see 2
Villages and woodlands 3
Varied views including coastal scenery 4

Weather (W):

What weather are you expecting? Score
Sunny warm and a light breeze 1
Cloudy cool but dry 2
Rain, wind and possible storms 3

What your Perfect Drive score means

How good will my drive be?   Score
Drive of a lifetime! – set the satnav! Over 85%
This should be a really good drive 70-84%
Some compromises here but will be fine 50-69%
Perhaps see if you can tweak a few of your choices 30-49%
Talk to someone who has been before and get advice on getting the best from your drive 20-29%
Talk to professionals who drive internationally – it is their job 10-19%
Talk to someone – anyone! Less than 10%