Los Angeles has topped the table in a new study of the world’s most congested cities, with drivers spending more than 100 peak hours a year stuck in traffic.
This is according to a new study by Inrix, which also found Moscow was the second-most gridlocked urban area (91 peak hours spent in congestion) and New York third (89 peak hours). Overall, five of the top ten most-congested locations were in the US, with San Francisco, Atlanta and Miami all featuring.
However, the worst city in terms of percentage of total driving time spent stuck in traffic was the Colombian capital Bogota, where drivers can expect to spend almost a third of their journey (31.8 per cent) in congestion, compared with 25.2 per cent in Moscow.
Of the 38 countries studied for the report, Thailand was found to have the highest overall average peak hours spent in congestion, at 61, ahead of Colombia and Indonesia (both 47 peak hours).
These jams can also have a severe impact on the economy in the most congested cities. For example, Inrix’s research estimated that in the UK alone, traffic problems cost the economy a total of £30.8 billion in 2016, equating to £968 per driver.
Chief economist at the company Graham Cookson said: “To tackle this problem, we must consider bold options such as remote working, wider use of road user charging and investment in big data to create more effective and intelligent transportation systems.”
He added that there is no “silver bullet” for solving congestion, as the causes of congestion are often unique and specific to each city and stretch of road. However, in order to better understand the root causes of problems, strong data and insight into what is happening is essential both for drivers and transport planners.
There are already a range of examples where the use of real-time data and analytics has been successful at cutting congestion. For example, Transport for London has installed sensors in carriageways across the city in order to measure traffic levels and optimise traffic light timings.
“[This] technology has been rolled out at 80 per cent of London’s 6,000 traffic lights and is proven to reduce delays at junctions by 13 per cent on average, generating over £100,000 in user benefits at every junction every year,” Mr Cookson stated.