If you think traffic is bad where you live, it’s probably even worse in other parts of the world.
Neil Tohill of Southside Motor Factors used data from TomTom’s Traffic Index 2016 to determine the 10 most traffic-congested cities in the world, and while it might not be consolation the next time you’re stuck in a traffic jam, you could be thankful you don’t live in one of these 10 cities… or maybe you do.
10. Los Angeles, California
Unsurprisingly, the only city in the U.S. to make the list is Los Angeles, Calif. During its busiest hours, L.A. motorists can expect to add as much as 41 percent to the time it would take to drive the streets of L.A. during non-traffic time. Except if you live in L.A., you probably think that 41 percent is on the lower side of the estimates.
9. Chengdu, China
The automotive industry is booming in China, and that isn’t helping its roads. The city of Chengdu has a population of 14 million and there are currently three million registered vehicles driving on roads in a city where large-scale construction is still ongoing. Chengdu is the highest-placed of 12 Chinese cities in the TomTom survey’s global top 30, and things are likely going to get worse since the city’s population is projected to reach 20 million by 2027.
8. Recife, Brazil
On average, drivers in Recife, Brazil, lose 94 hours each year to traffic. The east Brazilian city has developed a reputation for traffic-congestion problems, which really came to light during the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Even some of the city’s administrators admit that unless motorists are fined for certain offences, they will keep occurring and traffic will only get worse.
7. Salvador, Brazil
Another Brazilian city on the list, drivers in Salvador experience 43 percent longer travel time during peak hours than off-peak. Quora users describe the city as having “labyrinthian roads, poorly maintained traffic congestion” and “the worst drivers in Brazil.”
6. Bucharest, Romania
Heading to Europe for the first time in this list, traffic congestion in Bucharest, Romania, is worse than popular European destinations like London and Paris. An urban mobility study found that residents of Bucharest choose to drive because all of its car parks are free of charge. In addition, the city has a questionable public transport system. The same report found that a charge of 5 Romanian Leu ($1.23) would potentially alleviate Bucharest’s traffic congestion by as much as 56 percent.
5. Moscow, Russia
Previously topping TomTom’s list, Moscow has a population of more than 12 million people with four million cars, making it one of the world’s most traffic-congested cities. The city’s motorists have a tendency to park anywhere they please and during harsh snowfall in the winter months, commutes of 1.5 hours are considered normal.
4. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Home of this year’s Summer Olympics, Rio de Janeiro is getting its fair share of negative press. It is also the highest of the three Brazilian cities in the top 10. Drivers in the city lose an average of 165 hours a year being stuck in traffic, while a 2014 federal study revealed that traffic congestion in Rio and the nearby city of Sao Paulo caused the loss of $43-billion to the economy, due to lost of productivity and wasted fuel. To put that into perspective, $43-billion is equal to two percent of Brazil’s entire GDP.
3. Istanbul, Turkey
The worst city for traffic in Europe is Istanbul, Turkey. The city stretches across two continents and multiple bridges, which doesn’t help with the flow of traffic. There’s also a concentration of nightlife, tourist attractions and the business district all within the city center. Some drivers report that five lanes of traffic can form on streets with three designated lanes and frustrated motorists aren’t even afraid to honk at police.
2. Bangkok, Thailand
It may be one of the top tourist cities in the world, but the capital of Thailand is an utter nightmare for drivers. With more than five million registered vehicles in a city that developed organically over time, Bangkok lacks an organized grid structure to its road network. Helping make matters worse, frequent monsoon rains and insufficient public transport attribute to the congestion throughout the city. At least the city’s policed are trained in basic midwifery, since the possibility of women going into labor and not reaching the hospital in time is high.
1. Mexico City, Mexico
And the most traffic-congested city in the world is Mexico City. With over 22 million people in the city, drivers can expect a 59 percent increase on free-flow travel time with traffic at peak hours requiring more than twice the travel time of the same roads during off-peak hours. On average, motorists in Mexico City lose 219 hours sitting in traffic every year, slightly more than nine days.