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Traffic in New York City, USA
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Revealed: the most congested cities in the world

Traffic congestion has bounced back to pre-pandemic levels in cities around the world

Ed Cunningham
Written by
Ed Cunningham

Traffic congestion is one of the most frustrating things about living in a city. Not only are traffic jams an expensive waste of fuel and really, really boring: they’re also terrible for the environment. All those cars, sitting there without really going anywhere? There are few more wasteful and pointless ways to burn through fossil fuels.

After a brief hiatus during the pandemic, congestion is now back and bigger than ever. And that’s shown clearly with this year’s Global Traffic Scorecard by analytics company Inrix. By analysing a bunch of data sets, Inrix comes out with how many hours that car drivers waste in traffic in a given year, as well as how much money they end up wasting on fuel. 

So which cities are worst when it comes to congestion? Unsurprisingly, top of the ‘scorecard’ this year was London. Sitting in an average of 156 hours in traffic per year, Londoners lose more of their lives to congestion than the inhabitants of any other city in the world – and it costs each driver annually about £1,377 ($1,669).

Second in the ranking came Chicago, which saw drivers spend an average of 155 hours per year in traffic. Chicago saw an increase of over 49 percent on 2021, jumping up from sixth place in last year’s list.

Third was Paris, which was the only city in the top ten that saw traffic decrease in the last 12 months. That being said, drivers in the French capital still spend a whopping 138 hours per year stuck in jams.

According to Inrix’s Global Traffic Scorecard, these are the top ten cities with the most congested traffic in the world.

  1. London, UK
  2. Chicago, USA
  3. Paris, France
  4. Boston, USA
  5. New York City, USA
  6. Bogota, Colombia
  7. Toronto, Canada
  8. Miami, USA
  9. Palermo, Italy
  10. Monterrey, Mexico

You can read Inrix’s Global Traffic Scorecard study in full here. And if you’re a traffic-hating traveller? Well, now you know which cities to avoid – or, of course, where it’s simply even more worthwhile to take public transport.

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