A recent study has ranked Mumbai as the most traffic-congested city in the world for the second straight year, and Delhi at fourth place. How was this determined, and what do the findings say of traffic across the world?
The findings, published Tuesday, are part of the Traffic Index 2018 published by TomTom, an Amsterdam-based company that offers traffic solutions, uses location technology to collect traffic information, and has been publishing city rankings for eight years. The latest index ranks 403 cities across 56 countries, including 13 new cities.
For this study, congestion has been defined in terms of the additional time taken to reach a destination as opposed to when the road would have been clear of traffic. Mumbai’s 2018 congestion level of of 65%, therefore, means that the extra travel time is 65% more than an average trip would take during uncongested conditions. For Delhi, by the same yardstick, the extra travel time is 58% more.
Average times are of actual taken trips, across every vehicle in the entire network, 24/7, TomTom explains on its website. This is worked out by establishing a baseline of travel times during uncongested conditions across each road segment in each city; travel times are analysed across the entire year (24/7) for each city, the company website states.
TomTom states that it factors for peak hours, accidents, inclement weather, construction work and all other factors likely to cause disruptions. It adds that its statistics are “calculated using GPA data from navigation devices, in-dash systems and smartphones”.
Mumbai and Delhi
In both Indian cities, traffic congestion during morning and evening peak hours varies between 73% and 102%. Last year, August 8 (83%) was the worst day to drive in Delhi, owing to the movement of VIPs and restrictions put in place in the run-up to Independence Day celebrations. In Mumbai, August 21 (102%) was the worst day on the road, because of heavy showers and work on multiple Metro rail lines. The index found that traffic flows most freely between 2 am and 5 am in both cities. The least congestion last year happened on March 2 (-16%), the second day of Holi.
Around the world
Nearly 75% of the cities part of the 2018 index had increased or stable congestion levels between 2017 and 2018, with only 90 cities showing measurable decreases, states the report. Congestion in Jakarta, for example, decreased by 8 percentage points while that in Lima rose by the same number of points. “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,”said Ralf-Peter Schaefer, TomTom’s Vice President of Traffic Information.
Globally, Christmas Day resulted in the least traffic congestion. Overall, the index showed that an individual stuck in traffic in 2018 could have completed listening to one audio-book per week. Drivers in Tel Aviv and Istanbul stood to save the most time by avoiding driving during morning and evening rush hours.