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Traffic Nightmares: Most Congested Cities in the World

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How many hours do you lose to traffic jams every year? If you live in one of the most heavily congested global cities, the answer is “over a week”!

According to a study by INRIX Research, these are the cities with the worst traffic in the world. The United States makes several appearances, but it may surprise you that one city in particular isn’t on the list. Let’s dive in, shall we?

Asia

The continent of Asia only makes two appearances on the list, which may surprise you. Populous Asian cities such as Hong Kong, Tokyo, or Mumbai rely more on public transportation, however, with fewer cars per capita on the road. Only Jakarta, Indonesia, and Saint Petersburg, Russia, rank among the most congested cities in the world.

In Jakarta, people spend an average of 150 hours per year stuck in their cars. Saint Petersburg residents fare just slightly worse at 151 hours.

Europe

Over in Europe, multiple major capital cities are absolute nightmares for drivers. Despite a robust public transportation system in many of these metropolitan areas, car traffic is still a never-ending nightmare.

  • Rome, Italy: 166 hours
  • Paris, France: 165
  • Dublin, Ireland: 154
  • Istanbul, Turkey: 153
  • London, UK: 149
  • Brussels, Belgium: 140

If you’ve ever tried to travel in London, you might be surprised that the UK capital isn’t higher on the list. But traffic in Paris and Rome can be a true challenge for even the most seasoned drivers, with a mix of cars, buses, and–of course–scooters zipping around the narrow, cobbled streets.

South America

A combination of geography and lack of public transportation gives South America several spots on the list.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, almost wins the top prize with 190 hours stuck in traffic per person. Another Brazilian city, Belo Horizonte, ranks high with 160 hours. So Does Sao Paulo, with 152 hours.

Elsewhere in South America, Quito, Ecuador, just barely made the list with an average of 144 hours stuck in traffic.

But the most congested city in the world is… Bogota, Colombia! The South American metropolis sees citizens losing 191 hours to traffic jams every year. That’s just shy of 8 days!

North America

Finally, let’s check in with North America. No cities from this continent cracked the Top Five, but Mexico City came close. Residents there spend about 158 hours in their traffic jams each year.

In the US, residents of four of the most populous cities can expect to spend an average of 6 days in their cars each year!

  • Boston, Massachusetts: 149 hours
  • Chicago, Illinois: 145 hours
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: 142 hours
  • New York, New York: 140 hours

Are you surprised that Los Angeles didn’t make the list? As much as people joke and complain about LA traffic, it’s not quite bad enough to rank among the Top 20 most congested cities.

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