Global traffic congestion ‘has hit an all-time high’


Global traffic congestion hit an all-time high in 2015, more than doubling motorists’ rush hour travel time in some of the world’s busiest cities.

This is according to the latest edition of the TomTom Traffic Index, published on March 22nd, which measured traffic volumes in almost 300 cities using some 14 trillion individual data points.

It found that Mexico City was the most congested city worldwide over the 12-month period, with drivers in the Latin American metropolis experiencing, on average, 59 per cent extra travel time at any time of day due to traffic. At peak periods, the figure increased to 103 per cent.

This translates to around 219 extra hours of travel time per motorist per annum, the Dutch SatNav manufacturer claimed.

Next in the rankings came Bangkok, where drivers could expect a journey to take 57 per cent longer than it would in free flow thanks to the Thai capital’s crowded thoroughfares. Istanbul made third place with a score of 50 per cent, followed by Rio De Janeiro (47 per cent) and Moscow (44 per cent).

Looking at the results for Europe, Moscow ranked number one, followed by Bucharest (53 per cent), Saint-Petersburg (40 per cent), and Warsaw, Rome, London and Marseille in joint fourth place (38 per cent). Manchester followed with a score of 37 per cent.

Despite these high figures, however, Europe has seen only a modest increase in journey time over the last decade compared to some other regions. Globally, congestion has risen 13 per cent since 2008, TomTom found, and the figure for North America is 17 per cent. In Europe, traffic volumes are up just two per cent – potentially a side-effect of sluggish economic growth in the region since the recession.

A notable outlier is the UK, which saw a 14 per cent increase in congestion between 2010 and 2015.

“The TomTom Traffic Index is released every year to help drivers, cities and transport planners to understand traffic congestion trends but, most importantly, how to improve congestion globally,” commented Ralf-Peter Shaefer, VP of TomTom Traffic.

“We really want everybody to think about how they can lower the amount of time they waste in traffic every day – and to realise that we all need to play a part.”

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