Traffic has become a common problem in many cities today. This could be caused by different factors including, but not limited to accidents, congestion, and slow-moving vehicles. Traffic can set back your schedule by a couple of minutes or as much as a few hours, especially at peak hours. So if you know you live in a traffic-prone area, you best adjust your schedule accordingly.
Should You Rent a Car?
Cities with a lot of tourist attractions, or simply just a large population, tend to have lots of traffic. The best way to see all of these wonders is by going to a car rental company to get your own vehicle. This way you won’t have to wait for public transportation to take you to where you want to go during your limited stay. Car rental companies can also provide you with suggestions on where to visit, some of the places they suggest may not even be included in popular travel guides.
Just keep in mind that by renting a car during your next trip, you may find yourself stuck in traffic at one point or another. So, we have compiled a list of the 10 cities with the worst traffic in the world. Hopefully, this will help you decide where you want to head off to in the future. If you still want to visit these places some time soon, then just be prepared with a rocking playlist or a group of friends to keep you company. Check out our guide on the best car rental company.
The Cities with the Worst Traffic
So what are the cities in the world with the most traffic? To determine this, experts have taken into account the percentage of increase in travel time as well as the delays incurred during drives and commutes. Considering these figures, here are the most traffic-prone cities across the globe:
- Dublin, Ireland
- Los Angeles, California
- Rome, Italy
- Warsaw, Poland
- Palermo, Italy
- São Paulo, Brazil
- Mexico City
- Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
- Istanbul, Turkey
- Moscow, Russia
1. Dublin, Ireland
The capital city of the Republic of Ireland has the tenth worst traffic in the world. If you choose to drive here, you may experience an average of a 35% increase in travel time compared to roads with lighter traffic. In fact, rush hour in Dublin’s national road network now lasts for six hours each day. The peak hours begin at 6:30 in the morning and lasts until 9:30. On the other hand, the evening rush hour can begin as early as 3:30 in the afternoon.
Officials in Dublin place the blame for the traffic on public transport services not being delivered quickly enough. They even go so far as to claim that there have been next to no new buses in Dublin for the past ten years. The lack of public transport could have caused a massive spike in privately-owned vehicles, as people struggle to avoid late-coming trains as well as overcrowded buses.
2. Los Angeles, California
Up next on the list of cities with the worst traffic is the one famed for its beautiful scenery and even more beautiful people – Los Angeles. Residents here must consistently endure the 36% increase in travel time. This causes an almost 40-minute delay when travelling during peak periods. This also means that over the course of a year, commuters would have spent an extra hundred hours on the road. This is in spite of Los Angeles having over 6,500 miles of streets and highways.
The biggest factor contributing to Los Angeles traffic is car ownership. Statistics show that for every 10 residents, there are 7.8 residential vehicles. This means that close to everyone in L.A. owns a vehicle of some sort. Believe it or not, the fact that Los Angeles has more miles of road is also a factor. As a result, more people buy cars thinking that more roads, means less traffic. However, this mentality further increases congestion.
3. Rome, Italy
Number eight on the list is the capital city of Italy. Studies suggest that Rome has the most personal vehicles compared to other major cities in Europe. A lot of people here travel either by scooter or car. Not a lot of them; however, travel by more sustainable means such as biking. The nonstop influx of tourists may also contribute to the number of vehicles on the streets of Rome. These are just some of the reasons you could expect a 37% increase in travel time, with 40-minute delays, when you are in Rome.
However, safety concerns maymbe keeping people away from traveling via foot or bicycle. Rome’s streets have been ranked as among the most dangerous for non-motorists. The lack of public transport has also been blamed for the massive delays on Roman roads. The affordability of toll and parking have also been blamed for enticing people to purchase more vehicles, which causes congestion. The roads here are also not wide enough to accommodate the sheer number of vehicles traveling each and every day.
4. Warsaw, Poland
Warsaw lands the seventh spot on the list of cities with the worst traffic. While the traffic here has gotten incrementally better over the past couple of years, motorists in the Polish capital still experience a 39% increase in their regular travel time, which results in 43 minutes of delay. People who go through 30-minute commutes every day in Warsaw would have experienced 96 hours of delays in the span of a single year.
Some people may be surprised to find Warsaw included on this list due to how peaceful it appears. However, their recent economic prosperity has caused an influx of people to buy their own cars. Car ownership in Warsaw has actually doubled within the last 15 years. Meanwhile, their road development projects have failed to keep track, resulting in massive congestion.
5. Palermo, Italy
Palermo in Italy is next on the list. Statistics show that the traffic here has actually gotten worse in recent times. Although motorists here experience shorter added travel times due to delays compared to other cities on this list, the percentage by which travel time increases is much greater. If you decide to drive in Palermo, brace yourself for a 43% increase in travel time, which may increase come rush hour. This results in an extra 39 minutes per day on the road.
Some hotels in this city even pride themselves in being located in places without much traffic. Some establishments even put being in traffic-free zones as one of their biggest selling points in order to attract potential guests.
6. São Paulo, Brazil
São Paulo, Brazil finds itself in the top half of this list at number five. It is one of the most densely populated cities on this list, so it comes as no surprise that it is also among the cities with the most number of vehicles on its streets. You could expect a 46% increase in travel time while driving in São Paulo. This equates to an average delay of almost 48 minutes to get from point A to point B when driving during rush hour.
Brazil’s most populous city is another traffic-prone area that has fallen victim to a lack of public transport. Transport strikes are also commonplace in this city, so you can expect long lines at the remaining services, be it trains or buses. These could also serve as reasons as to why people choose to buy their own cars instead of commute.
7. Mexico City
We head over to the most populous city in the entirety of North America now, as Mexico City lands the fourth spot on this list. The recent modernization of Mexico’s capital has been described by experts as car-centric. This means that both the public policy and private sectors of Mexico City have found themselves with an over-dependence on privately-owned vehicles. Because of this, CDMX boasts a 54% increase in travel time resulting in an average 53-minute delay – one of the worst on this list.
Going back, the congestion caused by Mexico City’s car-centric development now has the opposite effect that it had before. What was once a symbol and agent of the city’s modernization is now a reason for slowed economic growth. Congestion is beginning to cost a lot of businesses sizeable amounts of income. For instance, a lot of money is being spent on parking lots to support current transport habits. This money could have been invested in the research and development of products that could have a positive impact.
8. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Now it’s time for the top three cities in the world with the world’s traffic conditions. For a lot of us, these three cities come as no surprise. The following cities are among the most populous, the most economically-developed, and in some cases, they are both. Coming in at the number three spot is Brazil’s second entry on the list – Rio de Janeiro.
Motorists in Rio de Janeiro experience a 55% increase in travel time. Their average delay in travel time is only short of an hour at 59 minutes long. There is a reason why there are two Brazilian cities in the top five, and unsurprisingly, drivers hailing from the former Brazilian capital suffer from virtually the same problems as their brethren in São Paulo. Overpopulation mixed with a lack of reliable public transport has created a recipe for disaster. Because of this, people have a hard time looking for something to ride going to work or school.
The lack of public transport services in Rio de Janeiro also causes a domino effect wherein people choose to buy their own cars instead of waiting for their turn on buses or trains. This creates further congestion in Brazilian roads. If this continues then delays here could soon reach over an hour in length. This is why local officials are promoting the use of ride-sharing apps and other similar services to reduce the number of cars on the road.
9. Istanbul, Turkey
In the runner up spot is Istanbul, Turkey. The congestion in Turkey’s largest city causes an increase in travel time by as much as 62%. This results in over an hour of delay time at an average of 66 minutes. At the end of every year, people who have a daily 30-minute commute would have experienced around 120 hours in delays.
Make no mistake, the traffic in Istanbul has gotten much better over the years thanks to “megaprojects” aimed to help widen roads and develop infrastructures. In 2016 alone, the Eurasia Tunnel as well as the Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge were opened. This was done in an effort to lessen the travel time in two major road networks – the D-1 and the TEM highways. There have also been efforts to provide more options for mass transit. However, Istanbul still remains one of the world’s most congested cities.
The reasons for this traffic include, of course, a growing population as well as an increased dependence on privately owned vehicles. The more people come into Istanbul, the more cars will also. Recent findings have revealed that for every 1.65% increase in the city’s population, there is a 4.5% increase in the number of motor vehicles. The city of Istanbul alone has over four million cars roaming its streets, the most out of any city in Turkey.
10. Moscow, Russia
Taking the top spot on the list of cities with the worst traffic in the world is Moscow, Russia. The capital of Russia, and by far its most populated city, has traffic that causes an astonishing 74% increase in travel time. This means that if you drive in Moscow during peak hours, you are looking at a 76-minute delay, on average. This added time could even be longer during certain times.
Russia has become a hotbed for traffic jams in recent years, as more and more people choose to have their own cars instead of commute. In fact, other big cities in Russia such as Krasnodar and St. Petersburg also rank among the cities with terrible traffic. Every year, drivers in those cities spend 57 hours and 54 hours respectively stuck in traffic jams. With that in mind, it comes as no surprise that the city in Russia with the most people, and as a result the most vehicles, has such a high rate of traffic.