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It will come as little surprise to anyone from Los Angeles that their city is ranked highest on a new list measuring traffic congestion. What is surprising is that three of the top five cities with the worst congestion in North America are in Canada.
At least that’s the findings from the latest study by navigation product manufacturer Tom Tom, which highlights traffic blackspots in Europe.
Not only is Brussels the top of the list when it comes to congestion among big European centers, but it’s traffic is getting worse, with an increase in volume by some 1.2 percent this year over 2010.
Things aren’t much better across the channel in the UK. It’s three largest cities, London, Birmingham and Manchester are all in the top 15 when it comes to congestion hot spots (London is number 3) and in fact out of the top 50 towns and cities listed in the study, no fewer than 16 are in the UK, ranking Britain as the worst country in Europe when it comes to motoring gridlock.
Nevertheless some parts of the UK, notably Northern Ireland have seen significant drops in traffic volume. Belfast has seen a reduction by around 2 percent, while south of the border in EIRE, Dublin has seen a 9.7 percent drop in the last year.
Still, both these cities lag behind Cologne, in Germany; Tom Tom’s findings revealed that just 18.9 percent of its roads were congested.
The data for the to 50 most congested European cities was compiled using real travel time databases, highlighting how fast cars can actually move on a given road, with congestion being defined if motorists can only reach 70 percent or less of the posted speed limit. The survey was also limited to towns and cities with more than 50,000 inhabitants and 200 km (125 miles) of road network.
Hate sitting in traffic? Well, don’t expect that problem to go away any time soon. Studies show that traffic congestion is up in metro areas 11 percent.
Not even rising gas prices can stop us from getting in our cars and making that slow commute into work everyday. According to INRIX, a company that tracks traffic congestion, the USA’s 100 biggest metropolitan areas have increased by 11 percent in 2010 last year and things are only going to get worse. This is thanks in part to an improving economy.
“What we’re seeing is small job gains, big movements of people and near-record (freight) movement,” said Rick Schuman, public sector vice president at INRIX. “If that’s what happened with minimal job growth, what happens when the jobs really come back?”
The study shows that 70 of the US’s 100 largest metropolitan areas, which include New York City, San Francisco and Portland, Ore., saw increased congestion last year, and 41 reported congestion that exceeded levels reported in 2006. In 2007, traffic congestion peaked, showing a huge increase of 21% in miles driven from 1995 to 2007. And smaller cities weren’t immune to traffic snarls – smaller metropolitan areas such as Birmingham, Ala., Buffalo and Milwaukee exceeded their 2007 congestion levels, giving them the highest numbers on record.
[Source: USA Today]