Features
22 Feb 17

Moscow is most congested city in Europe

Moscow is the most congested city in Europe. Drivers in the Russian capital spend more than ninety hours a year stuck in traffic, equivalent to a quarter of their total drive time. 

Russia has five cities in the Top 10; London is on second, Paris on fourth. So says the Global Traffic Scorecard, produced by INRIX. The transport analytics and connected-car services specialist ranked the impact of congestion in 1,064 cities across 38 countries worldwide – the largest ever study of its kind.  Here is the entire European Top 10:

1 Moscow, pictured (91.4 hrs, 25%)
 2 London (73.4 hrs, 13%)
 3 Magnitogorsk (71.1hrs, 42%)
 4 Paris (65.3 hrs, 11%)
 5 Istanbul (58.6 hrs, 19%)
 6 Kansk (56 hrs, 34%)
 7 Krasnodar    (56 hrs, 24%)
 8 Zurich (53.5 hrs, 18%)
 9 Saint Petersburg (52.7 hrs, 20%)
 10 Geneva (49.4 hrs, 15%)

500 Terabytes
For its 2016 Global Traffic Scorecard, INRIX analysed 500 Terabytes of data from 300 million different sources covering over 5 million miles of road. The analysts calculated the percentage of time that drivers spent in congestion at different periods of the day/week and on different parts of a city’s road network, providing a more holistic view of a city’s congestion problem. 

The United States is the most congested country in the developed world, with American drivers spending an average of 42 hours per year stuck in peak-hour traffic. Those delays come at a cost, of $1,400 per driver, and $300 billion to the U.S. economy in 2016. 

The U.S. also dominates the Top 10 of most congested cities in the world, taking the top spot and four more places on the list. Drivers in LA, the most congested city in the world, spent 104 hours in congestion last year, or 12.7% of their total drive time. That cost each driver on average $2,408, and the city  $9.7 billion on an annual basis. The Top 10 further lists three European cities and two South American ones:

1 Los Angeles (104 hrs, 12.7%)
2 Moscow (91 hrs, 25.2%)
3 New York (89 hrs, 12.8%)
4 San Francisco (83 hrs, 12.8%)
5 Bogota (80 hrs, 31.8%)
6 Sao Paulo (77 hrs, 20.8%)
7 London (73 hrs, 12.7%)
8 Atlanta (71 hrs, 10.0%)
9 Paris (65 hrs, 11.4%)
10 Miami (65 hrs, 8.7%)

German driver
The costs associated with congestion are both direct (extra fuel, lost time) and indirect (corporate vehicles idling in traffic). Phoenix and Detroit are the lowest-cost metro areas for congestion, adding no more than $1,062 per driver per year. Adjusting for exchange rates and cost of living, the average German driver pays $1,938, 38% more in congestion costs than his American counterpart. 

On a by-country basis, Thailand was the most congested, with drivers spending 61 hours in peak congestion each year, outranking Columbia and Indonesia (both 47 hours), and Russia and the U.S. (both 42 hours). Here is an overview of the worst-congested countries:

1 Thailand (61 hrs)
2 Colombia, Indonesia (47 hrs)
4 Russia, U.S. (42 hrs)
6 Venezuela (39 hrs)
7 South Africa (38 hrs)
8 Brazil, Puerto Rico (37 hrs)
10 Turkey (34 hrs)
11 U.K. (32 hrs)
12 Germany, Slovakia (30 hrs)
14 Canada, Luxembourg (28 hrs)

Continuing urbanisation
Economic growth and continuing urbanisation are two major factors in the trend towards more traffic, and also more congestion. Traffic jams cost hundreds of billions in economic growth, and are detrimental to quality of life, INRIX warns. Its Scorecard provides specific insight into the causes and costs of congestion, and some remedies. 

The most detailed overview is reserved for the U.S., where the Scorecard offers analysis of congestion in both peak and non-peak periods; on arterial roads, city streets and highways; and for freight delivery and other business-related travel; plus on weekends.  

Image: public domain
 

Authored by: Frank Jacobs