Location technology specialist, TomTom, today released the TomTom Traffic Index, a report detailing the traffic situation in 2020 in over 400 cities in 57 countries. Although the ranking of the world’s most congested cities has shifted very little from 2019, the big change is how far congestion levels have fallen due to the global pandemic. Out of the 416 cities included in the Index, 387 saw a significant decrease (average of 21%) in congestion, and an astonishing 28% average decrease in congestion during rush hours, bucking a trend that has seen congestion increase by an average of 2-3% year-on-year.
TomTom’s traffic data, which is powered by 600 million connected devices, is an authoritative indicator of people movement, economic activity levels, global trade, and so much more. Since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, TomTom’s traffic insights have been used by analysts, corporations, and the media to explain a world in flux.
As well as ranking cities from the most to the least congested, the TomTom Traffic Index report provides incredible data insights into how the global pandemic changed mobility through engaging and interactive visuals.
Ralf-Peter Schäfer, TomTom’s Vice President of Traffic and Travel, said: “Last year, we announced that global congestion levels in 2019 had increased for the ninth consecutive Traffic Index. In 2020, we saw a vastly different picture. From lockdowns to closed borders, people movement changed – and it changed very fast.”
However, TomTom’s experts don’t expect the roads to stay so uncongested unless there’s a concerted and deliberate change in driver behavior, supported by policy makers and, importantly, employers. Although the global pandemic has created an opportunity to change traffic forever, will people embrace the shift in mobility and take a new path towards a cleaner, congestion-free future? For example, an end to the rush hour could even be possible through flexible working hours, working from home, and a smart approach to using traffic data to determine the best times to travel.
Schäfer continued “Although traffic congestion was down in 2020, it’s not going to become a trend unless we take action. We might even see traffic levels shoot up again as people get back to work and back into old routines. That’s why now is the time that city planners, policy makers, employers – and drivers – must take stock of what they will do to make the roads less congested in the future.”
- Moscow, Russia: 54% congestion level
- Mumbai, India: 53%
- Bogota, Colombia: 53%
- Manila, Philippines: 53%
- Istanbul, Turkey: 51%
- Bengaluru, India: 51%
- Kyiv, Ukraine: 51%
- New Delhi, India: 47%
- Novosibirsk, Russia: 45%
- Bangkok, Thailand, 44%
Escapes from our capital cities
In 2020 we observed the mass exodus of people from capitals across Europe. The day before second lockdown was the most congested day in Athens and London in 2020. Meanwhile in Paris, traffic jams reached a record length.
Paris, 29 October, 18:00 – 142%
London, 4 November, 17:00 – 104%
Athens, 6 November, 18:00 – 123%
*Of the representative 416 cities in 57 countries that the TomTom Traffic Index features in the report