Much to our surprise, the snarled traffic of our lovely home metropolis ranks only 15th worst in the world, which makes us feel real bad for a bunch of other cities around the planet.

Tomtom.com, a navigation and mapping product company that monitors road congestion globally, just released its annual Traffic Index ranking over 200 cities worldwide.

Based on full-year data for 2014, Beijing came out tied for 15th on the list, with a 37 percent congestion level, which means it takes the average driver 37 percent longer to cover the same distance than it would on an uncongested roadway.

Actually, because there are four ties above Beijing's slot at #15, that makes for 18 cities around the globe with more torturous traffic than Beijing. That includes Los Angeles, Moscow, Taipei, Tianjin, and even little ol' Dublin, Ireland.

For Beijing, the average commuter that travels 30 minutes in each direction will be delayed for a total of 24 minutes each day. Over a year, that adds up to 94 hours of additional commuting misery.

According to the report, Beijing is also one of those rare cities where traffic is worse on highways than on non-highways. Only 11 cities on the 218-city list had longer delays on highways than on non-higways; Beijing's highway congestion level was 43 percent (good for sixth worst in the world), while it's non-highway level was 35 percent (34 cities on the list have it worse).

Tomtom's charts of traffic delays also confirmed what we already sensed, which is that Monday morning and Friday evening commutes suck the worst, with a 67 percent peak congestion level on Monday mornings, and a whopping 83 percent peak congestion level on Fridays going home.

Of course things could be worse  as they are in Chongqing and Tianjin, apparently, and the poster child for terrible commuting, Istanbul, with a 58 percent congestion level

Meanwhile, the city traffic bureau is moving to clean up one area of the city that is notorious for having some of the most disastrous traffic in town: the stretch of the 3rd Ring Road between the Guomao intersection and Shuangjing.

Traffic in Shuangjing is consistently snarled by the close placement of an onramp, an offramp and a major bus stop north of the Shuangjing intersection.

Plans call for the nortbound offramp on the east side to be closed, and the current onramp to be changed to an offramp.  Meanwhile, the west side's entrances will be lengthened and the side roads on both sides widened.

Meanwhile, a new pedestrian underpass at the southwest corner of Guomao Bridge will be opened to encourage pedestrians to stop jaywalking across to the road to the Jianwai Soho compound.

Construction has not yet begun and there is no timetable for the changes, but a spokesperson for the city transportation bureau said the project should be finished by 2015.

The Tomtom rankings of Most Congested Cities, for the statistically inclined:

1. (tie) Istanbul, Turkey
1. (tie) Łódź, Poland
2. Mexico City, Mexico
3. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
4. Moscow, Russia
5. Salvador, Brazil
6. Recife, Brazil
7. (tie) Saint Petersburg, Russia
7. (tie) Palermo, Italy
8. Bucharest, Romania
9. Warsaw, Poland
10. Los Angeles, United States
11. (tie) Taipei, Taiwan
11. (tie) Belfast, United Kingdom
12. Chongqing, China
13. Rome, Italy
14. (tie) Tianjin, China
14. (tie) Dublin, Ireland
15. Beijing, China

Images: Tomtom.com


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