To be able to drive is a skill that is quite desirable—you can get to places faster while being in the comfort of your own car. But that is until you hit a traffic jam, maybe in a city like Mexico. Then you could potentially find yourself stuck in hours and hours of traffic. Just to give you an idea, in Mexico City, you could end up spending an average of 66% extra travel time stuck in traffic anytime of the day, and up to 101% in the evening peak periods versus a free-flow or uncongested situation.
Adding up, the figure could go up to 227 hours of extra travel time a year, as per a new study, which has ranked Mexico City the most congested in the world. Dutch navigation company TomTom recently released the results of its ‘Traffic Index’ for 2017, the annual report detailing the cities around the world with the most traffic congestion. Using data from 2016, the TomTom Traffic Index looks at the traffic congestion situation in 390 cities in 48 countries on six continents—from Rome to Rio, Singapore to San Francisco. TomTom works with nearly 19 trillion data points that have been accumulated over nine years. This is the sixth year of the TomTom Traffic Index. Here’s counting down the 10 most congested cities in the world…
Mexico City, Mexico
The world’s most congested city is Mexico City, where a congestion level of 66% means that drivers spend 59 additional minutes on the road. This can rise to a whopping 101% longer, on average, in the peak evening periods. “It could be middle of the day or late at night, but it’s just really, really congested. Mexico City has an extensive subway system, but it doesn’t extend out to where all the population growth is happening. People don’t have a lot of options for getting to work,” TomTom’s senior traffic expert Nick Cohn was quoted as saying by media reports.
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Second from bottom was Bangkok. The Thai capital has a 61% congestion level, forcing motorists to spend an extra 64 minutes at the wheel—the longest time spent driving of any city on this list. As per Nick Cohn of TomTom, Thailand, many other big cities at the top of the congestion ranking have become victims of their own success.
Drivers spend 48 minutes extra on the road in Java’s capital, 58% of which is said to be clogged up with traffic.
One of the rapidly expanding Chinese cities on this list, its population has tripled since 1990. It sprawls over several rivers, and its bridges are hot spots for severe jams. Its roads add an extra 55 minutes to drivers’ journeys and 52% of the city is congested.
Exactly half of Bucharest’s roads are congested, adding 57 minutes to the average drive time.
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Motorists spend 46 minutes longer at the wheel here, as per the index, with nearly half (49%) of the city suffering from gridlocked roads. Istanbul has seen a modest easing of traffic congestion because the authorities have made a point to provide more real-time traffic data to drivers. This has helped people plan their drives and avoid severe traffic jams. It’s still terrible, but there is a slight decrease, as per TomTom.
Its giant pandas may bestow on tourists a sense of calm, but its roads are more likely to induce rage, with 47% of them congested, adding an extra 46 minutes to a journey.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Rio’s recent infrastructure spending does not seem to have helped its traffic problems, with 47% of the city deemed to be congested, forcing drivers to spend an extra 43 minutes on the road. No wonder then, city officials had to declare three public holidays in an effort to curb traffic during the 2014 World Cup.
Mopeds add to the traffic jams in Tainan, once the island’s capital, where 46% of the city is congested, with journeys taking 37 minutes longer.
Driving times are, on average, 47 minutes longer here, with 46% of the city’s roads regularly congested, according to the research. And if you think being stuck in traffic for a few hours is bad, a truly massive jam was reported on a highway into Beijing from Huai’an in the south-east in 2010. The back-up was more than 100-km-long and lasted more than a week.