10 Cities With the Most Congested Commutes

In many large cities, traffic congestion is a major problem.
In many large cities, traffic congestion is a major problem.

Traveling and commuting are two of the most common things we do in our daily lives. Statistics show that we spend almost an eighth of our lives traveling as we go to school or work every day. Some cities have long and wide roads that are often car free during weekends making commuting stress-free. However, other cities have roads that are constantly occupied by cars and public transport which has caused traffic to become hectic which affects the daily lives of commuters. Below are the top 10 cities with the most congested traffic. 2

10. Bangkok, Thailand

Traffic in Bangkok is all a blur.

Bangkok attracts tourists and shoppers from around the world, but the large population causes a significant amount of problems with the city's traffic. The increase in the number of vehicles in Bangkok that has contributed to the congestion is also attributed to the 2012 tax refunds to new car owners. Although the government encouraged people to buy new cars, the city's infrastructure did not improve much. At present, the city has over 5 million cars but a road infrastructure that can only accommodate 2 million vehicles. According to a study by INRIX Inc., Bangkok commuters spent an average of 64.1 hours stuck in a traffic jam in 2016. This congestion led to drivers losing fuel in the process.

9. London, England

A congested street in Central London.

In London, buses, vans, taxis, trucks, and cars often get stuck in traffic in the morning which makes it difficult to get to school or work. In 2003, a congestion levy was imposed on drivers in an attempt to get the city moving. The charge was initially successful as vehicles moved at an average speed of 10.9 mph as compared to the previous year when they moved at an average speed of 8.8 mph. However, in 2015, the average speed for vehicles in this zone slowed to 8.3 mph. The worsening traffic situation is attributed to factors including the increase of Uber car hires, Amazon deliveries, and the installation of cycle lanes in the city.

8. Mumbai, India

Passenger and vehicle traffic around the main train station in Mumbai.

Being stuck in traffic jams is a regular part of driving on Mumbai's roads. Although the city was once known for its discipline on the roads, it is now among the cities with the worst traffic congestion. The main cause of traffic congestion in Mumbai is disregard for traffic rules such as jumping traffic signals, disrespecting pedestrians, lane cutting, and even overtaking on the wrong side. There has also been an increase in private cars on the roads and the ongoing infrastructure development also tempers with travels.

7. Beijing, China

Traffic approaching the Beijing Central Business District.

According to AutoNavi Software Co in 2015, Beijing spends an average of 32 minutes per hour in traffic jams during rush hours. The Workers Stadium North Road was the country's most congested road in 2015 with an average jam totaling 162 hours from April to July. According to reports by Wall Street Journal, the average travel speed in Beijing is 7.5 mph. The major cause of traffic jams in Beijing is too many cars. In 2010, the streets of Beijing had over 5 million cars and a population of 20 million people. In 2015, the Beijing government began restricting the licensing of new cars and lowered the cost of traveling by subway in a bid to reduce traffic congestion.

6. Los Angeles, United States

High volumes of cars use Los Angeles's freeways.

In 2015, drivers in the Los Angeles-Santa Ana region spent an average of 81 hours stuck in traffic, the worst ever witnessed in any metropolitan area in the US according to a study by INRIX. The main cause of congestion in this area is the semi dense pattern that forces residents to drive.

5. Luanda, Angola

A busy highway heading into Luanda, Angola.

Luanda is the capital city of Angola with population of over 6 million people. Luanda is known to be one of the most expensive cities to live in and 53% of people in city live in poverty. Traffic is also a major challenge in Luanda and is caused by poor road networks. The roads are currently undergoing reconstruction. The poor roads is the major cause of congestion in the city.

4. Cairo, Egypt

A congested highway in Cairo, Egypt.

More than 19 million people inhabit the metropolitan area of Cairo, which represents more than one-fifth of Egypt’s population. Traffic congestion in Cairo is a serious problem and brings adverse effects to the economy and the quality of life of its people. The longer vehicles are stuck in traffic, the more fuel they consume. There has been an increase in harmful emissions to the environment due to the long hours spent in traffic. Fuel subsidies are the major cause of traffic congestion in Cairo as inexpensive fuel encourages residents to buy automobiles.

3. Sao Paolo, Brazil

Traffic in Sao Paulo moving steadily, although the high volume of cars could quickly cause congestion.

Sao Paulo in Brazil experiences a congested road network with traffic jams going as long as 100 km or even up to 200 km during bad weather and weekends. Sao Paulo is the 7th most populous city in the world with a population of approximately 11.3 million people. The city has over 7 million vehicles. The intense traffic congestion in Sao Paulo has led to long commute times, high air pollution, and difficulty in conducting business that depends on time such as deliveries. Traffic grows in Sao Paulo at a rate of 7.5% yearly. On a daily basis, citizens in Sao Paulo spend an average of three to four hours stuck in traffic which leads to delayed commutes.

2. Dhaka, Bangladesh

A highway in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

In Dhaka, traffic congestion has become intolerable. The heavy traffic congestion in Dhaka is due to poor urban planning, poor road networks that are often eroded during floods as they lack proper drainage, a lack of alternative routes, and narrow roads. Some say that more roads are needed in Dhaka to ease the road congestion as only 7% of land is covered by road.

1. Lagos, Nigeria

The sprawling highways of Lagos.

Lagos, Nigeria is one of the world’s largest cities with a population of about 21 million people. The city is also notorious for its crazy traffic congestion. Fuel subsidies have made it inexpensive to own a car which leads to congestion. The route to Lagos is limited and if there is road breakage the entire city gets backed up. Overpopulation is the main reason for congestion and the road facilities have not been improved to accommodate the rising population. Traveling in Lagos during rush hours could increase the time spent on the road up to four hours.


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