Sitting at a complete stop in traffic might be one of the worst sensations in the world, and navigation system maker TomTom knows all about it. The company has been creating an annual traffic jam index for several years now, but it has just released the results of the same survey for China for the first time. Given all of the horror stories we have heard about pollution caused by the country's cars, congestion was about as bad as you might expect. The researchers found motorists there spend an average of nine working days per year sitting in gridlock.

Looking at the just-compiled 2013 data, China's worst city for traffic, according to TomTom, is Tianjin (pictured above) with 56 percent average congestion. According to the company's metric that meant that the average travel time increased by 56 percent compared to a journey with no traffic delay. That figure skyrocketed to 95 percent during the evening peak, nearly doubling the duration spent on the road. The other two top cities were Hangzhou and Beijing with average gridlock of 47 percent and 43 percent, respectively.

To compare, in TomTom's survey of North and South America with 2013 data, Los Angeles was considered the most congested city in the United States. It had average traffic levels of 36 percent and a peak of 75 percent during evening rush hour. However, that would only put it on par with China's 11th ranking city – Shenyang.

Chinese cities have seriously tried to curb their congestion, but it hasn't seemed to help much. Shanghai, ranked seventh on the list, has considered congestion charges, and Beijing has tried both the fees and restricting vehicle registrations. According to TomTom, people from rural parts of China continue to stream into the cities to find jobs, and each one puts a further stress on the country's road network. Scroll down to read the company's release or visit TomTom's site to view the full results worldwide.
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TomTom research reveals drivers in China lose nine working days per year due to traffic

July 01, 2014 02:30 AM Eastern Daylight Time
SHANGHAI--(BUSINESS WIRE)--TomTom (TOM2), a global leader in traffic, today released the first edition of its China Traffic Index, revealing that drivers are spending an average of nine working days a year stuck in traffic.

"Rapid urbanisation has led to increased car sales across the country. Despite measures to reduce traffic congestion, such as limiting vehicle registration and building new roads, traffic continues to be a significant issue"

China has the world's fastest growing economy and according to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation, as many as 300 million people will move from rural to urban areas by 2030.

"Rapid urbanisation has led to increased car sales across the country. Despite measures to reduce traffic congestion, such as limiting vehicle registration and building new roads, traffic continues to be a significant issue", said Ralf-Peter Schäfer, Head of Traffic at TomTom. "By empowering drivers with accurate traffic information, so they know exactly which roads are congested and the length of the delay, they can get where they want to be faster."

The top ten most congested cities in China, ranked by overall congestion level are:

1 Tianjin
2 Hangzhou
3 Beijing
4 Changchun
5 Nanjing
6 Shijiazhuang
7 Shanghai
8 Changsha
9 Chongquing
10 Fuzhou

The TomTom Traffic Index is a comprehensive measurement report of traffic congestion, comparing travel times of passenger vehicles in China during non-congested hours with travel times in peak hours. The Index measures both local roads and highways.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 1 Year Ago
      My guess is this is trivial. They lose more then 9 days a year off their entire life expediency do to the smog! All the best, Aaron Lephart
      joe shmoe
      • 1 Year Ago
      and 9 years from lung cancer
      • 1 Year Ago
      China is a mess. Such rapid growth, so much corruption, so little enforcement of sane rules results in a real mess. Of course, it would be really hard to manage such growth . . . but I think they could do a lot better if there wasn't so much corruption, there was more free speech, and great accountability of leaders (i.e., elections).
        • 1 Year Ago
        That last bit (corruption and accountability) sounds like something we in the U. S. are struggling with as well.
      • 1 Year Ago
      I lose 22 days a year in traffic for work alone. 260 business days times 1 hour to and and 1 hour from work. They got it good!
      • 1 Year Ago
      and that's why I don't live in those places.
      • 1 Year Ago
      Cray It's odd that with their dictatorship that they don't identify problems like this and just solve them. It's even more odd that a place like LA doesn't solve their rather trivial traffic problems. For the major congested roads you build additional layers of roads where only lighter electric vehicles are allowed. Say sub 1000kg. If the dumb automakers don't pick up on that and provide the vehicles then LA is big enough to make a car factory happen. Or easier, simply work with Tesla to provide such cars. If Tesla suddenly has to supply half of LA with cars, they will grow very fast. Pretty sure the douche automakers would follow quickly. Easy beasy. You could even add that only autonomous driving is allowed on the light layered roads. That way it could increase capacity further. You could also make some shortcut tunnels where only electric cars are allowed. Less ventilation needed. Could also involve some laser sintering 3D printing to make the road structures cheaply.
      • 1 Year Ago
      That's funny, I figure I GAIN 9 days a year Hooning on empty back roads on my commute back and forth to work.
      • 1 Year Ago
      In the NOVA/DC/MD area my trip to work takes 40 minutes if I get there before 6am…leaving at 5pm it takes at least 75 minutes if not 90….so at those evening times it's over 100% traffic congestion...
        • 1 Year Ago
        Well . . . there is a nice public transport system there. There are also ridesharing systems. And you could move closer to work. Remember . . . you are NOT stuck in traffic . . . you ARE traffic.
      • 1 Year Ago
      So they have cities that are much too full. And they have cities that are completely empty. How will they solve this?!?!?
        Actionable Mango
        • 1 Year Ago
        Move the nation's capitol to an empty city. Once the power base moves, everything else will have no choice but to follow. Worked for Rio de Janeiro -> Brasilia.
      • 1 Year Ago
      If the Chinese really want to be like the West, then they should start looking at the bicycle again.
      • 1 Year Ago
      It doesn't seem all that long ago, at least to me, that everyone in China was on bicycles. And, like the Soviet Union, the only ones driving cars were Communist Party elite. My, how things have changed.
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