We are a frustratingly stubborn society. We hate traffic, but refuse to take advantage of increasing leeway with the ability to work from home, and opt to sit on congested roads instead. It’s a strange thing, especially considering how prevalent cloud computing is, which helps people access information from anywhere with a wireless connection.
An old habit this is, which is hard to break.
This habit is highlighted in TomTom’s Congestion Index, which ranks the U.S. and Europe’s most traffic congested cities. TomTom has pulled real-time traffic information from its *millions* of customers, building a huge database of historic travel times that goes back to 2007, and in turn helping to identify which city streets are clogged with commuters at all hours on every day of the week.
So what did TomTom find? First, we’ll start with Europe. Why? Because day-to-day life in Europe is so foreign to us, so it seems interesting to list the cities in Europe where people are banging and mashing on steering wheels while screaming bloody hell to and from work.
(For reference, the congestion percentage refers to the increase in travel time with congestion as a percentage in comparison to non-congestion times. Like driving at 3 am.)
Overall, Europe’s congestion level is 24%. The top ten cities (or bottom cities, as it were) for congestion are:
- Warsaw (42% congestion)
- Marseille (41%)
- Rome (34%)
- Brussels (34%)
- Paris (32%)
- Dublin (30%)
- Bradford-Leeds (28%)
- London (27%)
- Stockholm (27%)
- Hamburg (27%)
If you are traffic-petrified and considering a move to Europe, either buy a bike or avoid Warsaw like crazy, and steer clear of France.
(It’s a fun mental exercise to put yourself in these cities and imagine yourself inhaling exhaust while thinking of Lech Walesa, musing on the various artwork in the Louvre, or contemplating what Stockholm syndrome might be like with a babe.)
And now for the North American rankings!
For North America, the congestion index is only 20%, though the wide-open territory of fair Canada may be the influential factor here. Here are the top ten worst cities for congestion:
- Los Angeles (33% congestion)
- Vancouver (30%)
- Miami (26%)
- Seattle (25%)
- Tampa (25%)
- San Francisco (25%)
- Washington, DC (24%)
- Houston (23%)
- Toronto (22%)
- Ottawa (22%)
Unfortunately, the European mental exercise doesn’t work as well stateside or Canada-side.
A common trend for both Europe and North America is a decrease in overall congestion levels from Q4 2011 to Q1 2012.
Curious about when to avoid traffic specifically in these cities? Click on the link above and download the full reports.