- With more than 6 billion people, the world is a crowded place and people need to get around.
- Transportation data firm INRIX Research released a study of the most congested cities in the world.
- The study evaluated the traffic congestion in 1,360 cities in 38 countries and scored Los Angeles as the most congested city on Earth for commuters.
- Overpopulation and inadequate infrastructure team up to make for horrible commutes.
With more than six billion people, the world is getting to be a crowded place and those six people need to get around. More moving bodies in the world’s largest cities mean some commutes are truly awful experiences.
In 2018, the transportation data firm INRIX Research released a list of the most congested cities in the world, which studied 1,360 cities in 38 countries and scoredLos Angeles as the most congested city on earth for commuters.
“It is clear that congestion is a global phenomenon, and impacts businesses as well as commuters, small cities as well as large ones and developing as well as developed economies,” INRIX wrote in the study.
According to the study, congestion cost US commuters more than $US305 billion in 2017, that represents an increase of $US10 billion over the previous year.
This is not a new problem. In 2004, Brookings released a study that concluded population growth could damage a city’s transportation capacity.
Today, notable European cities suffering from congestion problems and horrible commutes include Moscow and London, while Bangkok and Jakarta are two cities in Asia that are experiencing clogged roads and packed subways.
Here’s a closer look at the seven cities the worst commutes in the world according to INRIX along with a selection of four other major cities in the top 25.
1. Los Angeles. The INRIX study for “The City of Angels” to have the most stressful commute in the U.S. In fact, the average commuter in LA spends over 100 hours a year in traffic jams.
Being stuck in traffic costs each driver more than $US2,800 per year.
Source: INRIX Global Traffic Scorecard
Things have gotten so bad in L.A. that the city has even instituted High Occupancy Vehicle lanes—or “carpool lanes”—for in its highways, creating a separate traffic lane for those cars who are carrying two or more passengers in a single journey.
2. Moscow is the capital of Russia and the country’s financial and cultural center.
Unfortunately, the city’s inhabitants spend an average of 91 hours in congestion every year.
That’s even with a subway system that carries 9 million people through 200 stations each weekday.
Source: The Atlantic
3. New York City is the most populous city in the United States, with an estimated population of 8.6 million people.
Source: New York Times.
Each New York commuter spends an average of 91 hours a year stuck in traffic.
The city is also facing “a crisis” with the multiple problems in its ageing MTA subway system.
Source: The New York Times
New York experiences traffic at the entry points of its congested tunnels…
…on its crowded streets and avenues…
…and in its subway stations.
4. Sao Paulo is the most populous city in Brazil, the largest country in South America.
And the city’s congestion is a major issue. INRIX data shows the average commuter in Sao Paulo spends 86 hours a year stuck in traffic.
In fact, drivers spend an average of 22% of their time in congestion.
And the subway isn’t much better. According to Reuters, Sao Paulo’s metropolitan area has close to 20 million people but only 45 miles of underground rail. Just imagine trying to get home in rush hour.
5. San Francisco is one of the country’s most important and fastest growing economic hubs.
Drivers in San Francisco spends an average of 79 hours stuck in traffic.
The congestion costs each commuter nearly $US2,300 a year.
6. More than 10 million people in Colombia call the city of Bogota home.
Source: The Economist.
In a 2017 INRIX Global Traffic Scorecard, Bogota was ranked the 6th most congested in the world with drivers spending 30% of their time in traffic.
Source: INRIX Global Traffic Scorecard
According to INRIX, drivers spend an average of 75 hours a year in traffic.
7. London is one of the most populous cities in the world.
While London implemented congestion pricing fees in 2003, which charges cars a fee for entering certain parts of the city at certain times, it still has the worst traffic in Europe, with the average Londoner losing 74 hours per year sitting in a stalled car.
Congestion costs the city roughly $US12.5 billion every year.
That breaks down to around $US3,200 per commuter.
And now, for a selection of other major cities in the top 25.
11. Bangkok is the capital of Thailand, where it is nestled along the Chao Phraya River.
But things are congested there. Ten million vehicles clog Bangkok’s roadways.
Source: The Nation
Congestion is also fed by the millions who use motorbikes to get around the city, as there are 20 million motorbikes registered in Thailand.
According to INRIX, drivers in Bangkok spend an average of 64 hours a year stuck in traffic.
12. Located on the coast of the Java Sea, Jakarta is one of the largest cities in Southeast Asia.
The main issue clogging Jakarta’s streets and overburdening its roads is the 3.5 million daily commuters. In 2014, average vehicle speed was marked at 11 mph.
Source: The Guardian
Jakarta’s traffic jams at rush hour are among the worst in the world.
Source: The Guardian
15. Istanbul, formally the capital to both the Byzantine Empire and Ottoman Empire, is Turkey’s largest city.
The average commuter in Istanbul spends 59 hours every year in traffic.
17. Seated upon the shores of Lake Michigan, Chicago is the third most populous city in the United States behind New York and Los Angeles.
Source: US Census.
As a city of nearly 3 million people, Chicago’s congestion problems mainly occur on its highways.
Let’s also stop and remember how absolutely freezing cold the commute must be in the wintertime.
Just imagine the misery of being caught in a Chicago traffic jam in winter.
24. Rio De Janeiro is one of the top tourist destinations in the world and home to around 6.7 million people.
According to INRIX, drivers spend an average of 51 hours a year stuck in traffic.
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