The Most Traffic-Congested Cities on the Planet

Go anywhere, in any parts of the world, traffic is a major problem faced in today's era. Therefore, TomTom, a maker of navigation and GPS systems, gathers data from users around the world to create a traffic index that shows congestion in urban areas.

The index measures travel times throughout the day and during peak periods and compares them with non-congested periods. In this study, local roads, arterials and highways are taken into account. All data is based on actual GPS based measurements and for each city, the sample size is expressed in total number of measured kilometers for the period.

1. Warsaw, Poland

The Polish capital, Warsaw over the past few years has seen major infrastructural changes amidst increased foreign investment and economic growth.
The city has a much-improved infrastructure with new roads, flyovers and bridges. Public transport in Warsaw is ubiquitous, serving the city with buses, tramways, and metro.

Although many streets were widened, and new ones are built, the city is presently plagued with traffic problems and as such is listed as the 7th most traffic congested city.

Since the past 15 years, car ownership in this city has roughly doubled. It is in a way a reflection of the country's economic success. However, road-building programs have failed to keep pace. Today, for drivers in this city, the average commute time takes 44 percent longer compared to quiet times.

2. Palermo, Italy

An Italian city, Palermo known for its history, culture, architecture and gastronomy, playing an important role throughout much of its existence, is today well known for its worst traffic.

Although, this city has a population of less than one million, it boasts of worst traffic jams and the unenviable title of Italy's traffic jam capital with a 40 percent "congestion index".

In Palermo, it takes 40 percent longer to complete a journey in heavy traffic than would be necessary in "free-flow" (non-congested) conditions, the study said. Motorists in Palermo spend extra thirty-nine minute delay for every hour they spend in the city's traffic, which means that they spend ninety hours a year in total.

3. Manchester, UK

Known as the fastest growing city in Britain, Manchester is one of Europe's slowest-moving cities when it comes to traffic. This city is renowned as the world's first industrialized city, fares high on traffic congestion. Drivers in this city waste an average of almost 46 hours stuck in traffic every year, according to a major traffic study.

This made Manchester, the 12th most congested area in the whole of Europe. In addition, the four-mile stretch of Princess Parkway, which cuts through the south of the city from Northenden to Mancunian Way, was one of Britain's most clogged routes.

Manchester is also the third-most visited city in the UK by overseas visitors, after London and Edinburgh, and the most visited in England outside London.

4. Sao Paulo, Brazil

Brazil's largest metropolis and one of the host cities for 2014 FIFA World Cup, Sao Paulo suffers a heavily congested road network. Huge traffic jams of up to 100km long are common and can be even 200km long in bad weather or at weekends and holidays.

Such crippling traffic problem forces the Brazilians to spend a major proportion of their lives inching their way through the traffic.

The city houses 6.2 million cars owners. Its main modes of transport are private vehicles, public transport and walking. Public transport is ineffectively subsidized however, with nearly half of the city's households opting to commute by car.

To date, traffic management has been limited to 'plate restriction' through which 20 percent of cars are not allowed to circulate in the extended centre between 7 am and 10 am and 5 pm and 8 pm on weekdays.

5. San Francisco, U.S.

The leading financial and cultural center of Northern California, San Francisco is the one of the most traffic-congested cities in the world. In this city, as many as 14.6 percent of professionals take public transit to work, the third highest rate of any metro area in the nation.

Despite the high public transit use, the area remained highly congested. Likely contributing to its high congestion is the area's high density.

In this congested area of the U.S., every year a commuter usually waste around 67 working hours in traffic. It is noted that pedestrian traffic is a major mode of transport and in 2011, Walk Score ranked San Francisco as the second most walkable city in the United States.

6. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Commonly referred to as Rio, Rio de Janeiro is the second largest city of Brazil and the third largest metropolitan area approximately with 6.3 million people.

As it is the most congested city in America, the government is working hard to improve its transport system. It is investing in expanding metros and improving road infrastructure as it works to cut down on Rio's infamous congestion.

According to the study, an average drive through Rio will take the commuters 50 percent longer compared to off-peak times.

7. Mexico City, Mexico

An important financial hub for North America, Mexico City is located in the Valley of Mexico, a largest valley in the high plateaus at the center of Mexico, at an altitude of 2,240 metres (7,350 ft).
This city with almost 8.6 million inhabitants is one of the largest cities in North America. More inhabitants mean more congestion in the traffic.

Ranked at 4th place in the list, this city gives a terrible traffic statistic. In Moscow, the average driver loses eight working days a year due to congestion, according to the report.

Journeys mainly during the morning rush hour in the Russian capital take more than twice as long as those during less busy periods.
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