5 Jun 19

New congestion index helps fleets beat gridlock

Fleet managers with route planning responsibilities have fresh data at their fingertips to help their drivers combat congestion.

The TomTom Traffic Index details the traffic situation in 403 cities of more than 800,000 people across 56 countries around the world. The index reveals that national governments and city authorities are struggling to find solutions to urban mobility challenges, with three-quarters of the cities surveyed suffered stable or increased congestion between 2017 and 2018.

Ralf-Peter Schaefer, TomTom’s vice president of traffic information, said: “Globally, traffic congestion is rising. And that’s both good, and bad, news. It’s good because it indicates a strong global economy, but the flip side is drivers wasting time sitting in traffic, not to mention the huge environmental impact.”

TomTom’s Traffic Index portal gives free access to both live and historical traffic and travel information, providing city planners with valuable data to analyse problem areas and identify potential solutions to traffic bottlenecks. The information also gives fleet managers and drivers the opportunity to change routes and travel times in order to avoid congestion.

As a traffic and navigation specialist, TomTom established a baseline for traffic times in each city, based on free flowing uncongested roads. It then analysed actual travel times, based on anonymized GPS data collected via navigation devices, in-dash systems and smartphones, across an entire year, 24 hours per day, seven days per week, to see how much longer journeys actually took.

The results showed that Mumbai, India is the most congested city in the world, with traffic conditions increasing average journey times by 65% compared to its baseline.

The world's most congested cities and the average extension in journey times due to congestion
1 Mumbai, India 65% 6 Istanbul, Turkey 53%
2 Bogota, Colombia 63% 7 Jakarta, Indonesia 53%
3 Lima, Peru 58% 8 Bangkok, Thailand 53%
4 New Delhi, India 58% 9 Mexico City, Mexico 52%
5 Moscow, Russia 56% 10 Recife, Brazil 49%


In Europe, four of the 10 most congested cities are in Russia, with Moscow being the worst – its average journey times are 56% longer than the baseline figure.

Europe's most congested cities and the average extension in journey times due to congestion
1 Moscow, Russia 56% 6

Novosibirsk, Russia

2 Istanbul, Turkey 53% 7 Athens, Greece 40%
3 Bucharest, Romania 48% 8 Rome, Italy 39%
4 St Petersburg, Russia 47% 9 Warsaw, Poland 39%
5 Kiev, Ukraine 46% 10

Yekaterinburg, Russia



By global standards, the popular image of gridlock in Los Angeles and New York is not nearly as bad as other major world cities, although this will be of little consolation to drivers brought to a standstill on the freeways. 

The most congested cities in North America and the average extension in journey times due to congestion
1 Mexico City, Mexico 52% 6 Toronto, Canada 32%
2 Los Angeles, USA 41% 7 San Jose, USA 32%
3 Vancouver, Canada 38% 8 Seattle, USA 32%
4 New York, USA 36% 9 Miami, USA 30%
5 San Francisco, USA 34% 10 Chicago, USA 28%


“At TomTom, We’re working towards a future where vehicles are electric, shared and autonomous so that our future really is free of congestion and emissions. We have the technology to make this future happen – but it takes a collaborative effort. From road authorities, to governments; car makers to car drivers, we all have a part to play,” said Schaefer.

Authored by: Jonathan Manning