Scroll Down To Continue

The Worst Cities in the World for Traffic

10. Rome

People who haven't seen the Coliseum are usually shocked to find it situated smack in the middle of a bustling downtown. Rome mixes the old with the new, and while the roads might have gotten a facelife since the days of the Empire, the traffic is beyond belief. At one point it was the most dangerous city in all of Europe for traffic accidents.

(image via Instagram)

9. Beijing

China's population density is the stuff of legend, and it stands to reason that traffic would be just as outsized. Tom-Tom's measurements saw Chengdu blaze ahead of Beijing and Chonqing to take the top spot. But online map site Amap says Beijing is worse. Amap looked at sheer peak-hour delay, and with commuters seeing delays of over two hours, it's hard to imagine anything worse. Meanwhile, Castrol says Shanghai has one of the worst stop-start rates out there. It seems the ultimate lesson is to just not drive in China.

(image via Instagram)

8. Moscow

There are plenty of cities whose traffic problems are caused by old infrastructure. The streets of places like New York and Austin just weren't made for the number of cars traversing them. Some of Boston's oldest streets are just horse-cart trails that got paved over somewhere down the line. But we've got nothing on Moscow. The city was built in 1147 in a series of concentric rings—typical for Russia at the time. But that means that as you near the center of the city, not only does the number of cars go up, the streets get tighter and tighter. Russia topped Tom-Tom's congestion list in 2013 and continues to show up on "worst-ever" lists.

(image via Instagram)

7. Rio de Janiero

Speaking of massive economic loss, Rio de Janeiro is also one of Tom-Tom's most-congested cities. The government created Olympic-specific lanes to shorten the times between event locations for athletes and staff. The only problem was that, once the games began, those lanes also saw notorious wait times—as much as 74 miles of traffic jam.

(image via Instagram)

6. Istanbul

The fact that Istanbul once held the top title tells you everything. It may no longer be the single worst place in the world, but it's still not someplace for a casual cruise. Many of the roads in the old city are too narrow for cars, and it's amusing to imagine that the whole problem is just confused tourists wedging rental sedans into ancient stone arches, but the problem seems to be bigger than that. Local researchers estimate that the city's congestions costs $2.8 billion in economic loss.

(image via Instagram)

5. Mexico City

We've written at length about many of Mexico City's neighborhoods, from the trendiest hipster hideouts to the historian's dream in the middle of town. One thing we don't think we've ever recommended is driving through them. In Tom-Tom's most recent analysis—released just this March—they announced that Mexico City had taken the crown of "most congested city" away from Istanbul.

(image via Instagram)

4. Los Angeles

America doesn't actually appear on Castrol's top 10. But L.A. is rated the worst traffic in America by INRIX, who claims that Los Angeles commuters wasted an average 81 hours in traffic last year. Tom-Tom also acknowledges Los Angeles, placing it at #10 (behind Chengdu, China) on its congestion index.

(image via Instagram)

3. Bangkok

Of course, there's more than one way to measure bad traffic, and Tom-Tom itself is fond of looking at rush hour. The worst rush hour in the world this year is Bangkok, where commute times more than double in the evening rush. It's not expected to get any better. The country's middle class is growing, which is generally good news, except that driving has become a bit of a status symbol. More and more people are doing it just because they can.

(image via Instagram)

2. Jakarta

Castrol has a "Stop-Start Index" every year to draw attention to their Magnatec oils. They use Tom-Tom data to calculate the average stops and starts a person makes per kilometer and multiplies it by the average distance driven each year. The most recent winner (if you can call it that) was Jakarta, where drivers can expect 33,240 stops and starts over the course of their year of driving.

(image via Instagram)

1. London

INRIX found London to top their global list of works traffic jams last year, with drivers spending 101 hours—over four days of their life—in gridlock every year. This is the first time that a city has crossed the 100-hour threshold, though it's worth noting that INRIX's "global" analysis seems to only include the U.S. and Europe.

(image via Instagram)