Revealed: how traffic congestion in UAE cities compares globally

TomTom says congestion levels in Dubai and Abu Dhabi have fallen over the past year, bucking the global trend

Traffic congestion levels in Dubai and Abu Dhabi have fallen over the past year, bucking the global trend, according to a new report from TomTom.

Abu Dhabi ranked 410th globally out of a total of 416 cities analysed with a congestion level of 10 percent – drivers in the city expecting to spend an average of 10 percent extra travel time stuck in traffic – which is a decrease of 1 percent compared to 2018.

Morning rush hour congestion levels in the UAE capital peak at 17 percent – extra 5 minutes per 30 minutes trip – while evening travel congestion levels peak at 18 percent, TomTom said.

Dubai ranked 265th globally with a congestion level of 21 percent, down 2 percent on 2018.

TomTom said morning rush hour congestion levels in Dubai peak at 31 percent – extra 9 minutes per 30 minutes trip – while evening travel congestion levels peak at 43 percent, representing an extra 13 minutes per 30 minutes trip.

Thomas Edelmann, managing director of RoadSafetyUAE said: “Traffic congestion is of key importance for road safety, because when motorists get caught in congestions, we see a lot of impolite and dangerous behaviour.

“Traffic congestion adds costs to economies via lost working hours, it adds inconvenience to drivers via extra travel time and it should be avoided from a road safety perspective. It is great to see the the main UAE cities to fare pretty well on a global level.”

Globally, Bengaluru was named the most congested this year with drivers in the southern Indian city expecting to spend an average of 71 percent extra travel time stuck in traffic, followed by Philippine capital, Manila (71 percent); Bogota in Colombia (68 percent); last year’s most congested city, Mumbai (65 percent); and Pune (59 percent), also in India.

Greater Moscow was the most congested in Europe (59 percent) with Istanbul (55 percent) coming a close second while in the US, the top five most congested cities were Los Angeles (42 percent), New York (37 percent), San Francisco (36 percent), San Jose (33 percent) and Seattle (31 percent).

TomTom said traffic congestion has increased globally during the last decade, and 239 cities saw increased congestion levels between 2018 and 2019, with only 63 cities showing measurable decreases.

This global increase in congestion, despite being an indicator of a strong economy, is understood to cost economies billions, it added.

Ralf-Peter Schäfer, TomTom’s VP of Traffic Information, said: “Globally, there’s a long road to travel until congestion levels are brought under control. In time, the rise of autonomous vehicles and car-sharing services will help alleviate congestion, but planners and policymakers can’t afford to sit and wait.”

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