Global Traffic – The Big Slowdown

Global traffic is a concern for everyone who travels. It feels like every year traffic gets worse. And it probably does, at least according to a new report.

Location technology specialist, TomTom recently released the results of the TomTom Traffic Index, a report detailing the traffic situation in 416 cities in 57 countries. Bengaluru takes the top spot this year with drivers in the southern Indian city expecting to spend an average of 71% extra travel time stuck in traffic. Next in the global rankings are Philippine capital, Manila (71%); Bogota in Colombia(68%); last year’s most congested city, Mumbai (65%); and Pune (59%), also in India; making up the top five most congested cities in the world.

Greater Moscow takes the lead in Europe (59%) with Istanbul (55%) coming a close second. Kyiv (53%), Bucharest (52%), and Saint Petersburg (49%) make up the rest of the top five. Paris (39%), Rome (38%) and London (38%) ranked in at 14th, 15th and 17th respectively.

In the US, the top five most congested cities are Los Angeles (42%), New York (37%), San Francisco (36%), San Jose (33%) and Seattle (31%).

Congestion up, globally: At what cost?

Traffic congestion has increased globally during the last decade, and the 239 cities (57%) TomTom included in the new Traffic Index report had increased congestion levels between 2018 and 2019, with only 63 cities showing measurable decreases.

This global increase in congestion, despite being an indicator of a strong economy, is understood to cost economies billions.

Ralf-Peter Schäfer, TomTom’s VP of Traffic Information, said: “Globally, there’s a long road to travel until congestion levels are brought under control. In time, the rise of autonomous vehicles and car-sharing services will help alleviate congestion, but planners and policymakers can’t afford to sit and wait. They need to use all the tools available to them to analyze traffic levels and impacts, so they can make critical infrastructure decisions. And drivers have a role to play too. Small changes in driving behaviours can make a huge difference.”

Analyzing real-time incidents and congestion to predict traffic before it happens, TomTom’s Real-Time Traffic makes TomTom navigation software more accurate with enhanced route calculations and accurate estimated times of arrival (ETA). That’s whyTomTom is the market leader, with its traffic technology in millions of cars on the road around the world. TomTom Traffic knows the road ahead, saving time, fuel and stress for drivers, fleet and logistics providers, on-demand services (ride hailing, food delivery), and traffic management services.

And the location technology specialist’s work on the future of driving – from high definition maps for autonomous vehicles, to efficient electric vehicle routing and charging – means that car makers, technology companies, road authorities and governments already have the tools to make the roads less congested.

How do you beat traffic congestion?

Next time you are heading into traffic, consider these helpful tips:

1. Plan before you go. Taking a few moments before heading out the door to inform yourself on the road conditions on the way to your destination will help you consider your alternatives and decide on the best course of action.

2. Trust technology to help you. It may be uncomfortable to take the road less traveled simply because your satnav suggests it’s the fastest one. Often, if you cannot see that a road is indeed congested, it is hard to believe it. Dare to take the alternative route offered by up-to-date navigation, because it is basing its recommendation on real-time traffic conditions on the route you are taking.

3. Change your driving habits. Most often, traffic will peak at certain times of the day, depending on location. This is clear in each of the city pages in the TomTom Traffic Index report, where we provide the average congestion level for each hour of each day of the week. Use the information available to adjust your departure time accordingly. Leaving early or late from a location might mean avoiding time spent in traffic on the road.

4. Consider alternatives. Does your trip have to be made by car? If your planned activity is time-sensitive and you cannot change your departure times, consider ride-sharing, public transport or non-motorized options such as cycling or scooters.

5. Work with your city. Ultimately, improving mobility in our cities is a collaborative effort. Together, city authorities, vehicle manufacturers, traffic signal system providers, parking facilities, traffic information providers, shared mobility providers, startups and, most importantly, the public, are experimenting and transforming cities worldwide. Inform yourself of the initiatives taking place in your urban area and how you can benefit from them.

Ranking of the most congested cities Globally (Overall daily congestion level – extra travel time – population over 800,000):

1 Bengaluru, India 71% 6 Moscow, Russia 59%
2 Manila, Philippines 71% 7 Lima, Peru 57%
3 Bogota, Colombia 68% 8 New Delhi, India 56%
4 Mumbai, India 65% 9 Istanbul, Turkey 55%
5 Pune, India 59% 10 Jakarta, Indonesia 53%

Ranking of the most congested cities in Europe (Overall daily congestion level – extra travel time – population over 800,000):

1 Moscow, Russia 59% 6 Dublin, Ireland 48%
2 Istanbul, Turkey 55% 7 Odessa, Ukraine 47%
3 Kyiv, Ukraine 53% 8 Novosibirsk, Russia 45%
4 Bucharest, Romania 52% 9 Samara, Russia 44%
5 Saint Petersburg, Russia 49% 10 Kharkiv, Ukraine 43%

Ranking of the most congested cities in United States of America (Overall daily congestion level – extra travel time – population over 800,000):

1 Los Angeles, USA 42% 6 Miami, USA 31%
2 New York, USA 37% 7 Washington, USA 29%
3 San Francisco, USA 36% 8 Chicago, USA 28%
4 San Jose, USA 33% 9 Honolulu, USA 28%
5 Seattle, USA 31% 10 Austin, USA 27%

Ranking of the most congested cities in South America (Overall daily congestion level – extra travel time – population over 800,000):

1 Bogota, Colombia 68% 6 Santiago, Chile 44%
2 Lima, Peru 57% 7 Salvador, Brazil 43%
3 Recife, Brazil 50% 8 Fortaleza, Brazil 37%
4 Rio De Janeiro, Brazil 46% 9 Belo Horizonte, Brazil 35%
5 Sao Paolo, Brazil 45% 10 Porto Alegre, Brazil 35%

Ranking of the most congested cities in Asia (Overall daily congestion level – extra travel time – population over 800,000):

1 Bengaluru, India 71% 6 Jakarta, Indonesia 53%
2 Manila, Philippines 71% 7 Bangkok, Thailand 53%
3 Mumbai, India 65% 8 Tel Aviv, Israel 46%
4 Pune, India 59% 9 Tokyo, Japan 42%
5 New Delhi, India 56% 10 Chongqing, China 41%

Ranking of the most congested cities in Africa (Overall daily congestion level – extra travel time – all population sizes):

1 Cairo, Egypt 40% 6 Durban, S. Africa 19%
2 Cape Town, S. Africa 32% 7 Bloemfontein, S. Africa 13%
3 Johannesburg, S. Africa 30%      
4 Pretoria, S. Africa 25%      
5 East London, S. Africa 22%      

Ranking of the most congested cities in Australia and Oceania (Overall daily congestion level – extra travel time – all population sizes):

1 Sydney, Australia 33% 6 Brisbane, Australia 25%
2 Auckland, New Zealand 31% 7 Adelaide, Australia 24%
3 Melbourne, Australia 30% 8 Gold Coast, Australia 24%
4 Wellington, New Zealand 28% 9 Hobart, Australia 23%
5 Hamilton, New Zealand 25% 10 Christchurch, New Zealand 21