Toronto has recently been identified as North America’s most congested city, outpacing both New York and Mexico City according to the TomTom’s annual traffic index. Globally, it holds the third position, coming in behind London and Dublin. Commuters in Toronto experience an average journey time of 29 minutes for a mere 10-kilometer distance, indicating a marginal increase from the previous year. This time frame is slightly shorter than that of Dublin, but considerably exceeds London’s average travel time.
Analyzing Commute Durations
In 2023, Toronto’s drivers experienced an average of 98 hours lost to rush-hour traffic. Though this is less than the hours lost in cities like Dublin and London, it still represents a significant challenge for local commuters. The data, sourced from over 600 million in-car navigation systems and smartphones, pinpointed November 30th as the most challenging day for Toronto drivers, with a peak average travel time of 33 minutes for a 10-kilometer journey. The worst weekly commute times were recorded on Wednesdays, particularly between 5 and 6 p.m.
A Comparison Across North America
When compared to other North American cities, Toronto’s traffic issues are more pronounced. In New York, for example, the average travel time for the same distance is approximately 25 minutes. Within Canada, Toronto’s congestion is also more severe than in other major cities like Vancouver and Montreal, which boast shorter average commute times.
Underlying Causes of Congestion
Matti Siemiatycki, the Director of the Infrastructure Institute at the University of Toronto, identifies multiple factors contributing to Toronto’s traffic congestion. Ongoing construction projects throughout the city have significantly contributed to the issue. The lack of road tolls encourages increased vehicle use, while the city’s infrastructure struggles with inadequate public transit options, limited cycle lanes, and challenges in pedestrian accessibility. These issues are not confined to the downtown area but are widespread, affecting suburbs and highway interchanges.
Global Traffic Patterns and Slowest Cities
The TomTom Traffic Index offers a global perspective on traffic congestion. It reveals the slowest cities for a 6-mile drive, with London leading the list due to factors like the absence of fast roads and lower speed limits. Other cities like Dublin, Milan, and Lima also feature on this list, with their slow traffic attributed to various reasons ranging from ongoing roadworks to weather conditions.
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