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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.

For more information: http://www.tomtom.com/en_gb/trafficindex/

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