These are the Canadian cities where drivers spend the most time stuck in traffic

Published Jan. 30, 2020 10:02 a.m. ET
Updated Jan. 30, 2020 4:13 p.m. ET

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TORONTO -- Traffic congestion is on the rise in almost every major Canadian city, with drivers in Vancouver and Toronto facing the greatest delays of all, according to a new report.

The newly released TomTom Traffic Index found that, based on data from TomTom navigation systems, nine out of the 12 Canadian cities studied experienced more traffic congestion in 2019 than they did in 2018.

Vancouver topped the charts with a congestion level of 39 per cent, meaning the average trip in that city takes 39 per cent longer than it would if roads were flowing freely. Conditions worsen at rush hour; drivers with a 30-minute commute each way will spend an extra 17 minutes in their car in the morning and an extra 21 minutes there in the afternoon – long enough that they could have watched the movie "Titanic" 45 times in the amount of time they spent stuck in traffic in 2019.

There is some good news for motorists in Vancouver, though: at least they're not in Bangalore.

The Indian city was found by TomTom to be the most gridlocked in the world, with a congestion level of 71 per cent. Trip times more than double at rush hour, and drivers there could have used that time to made it through almost 30 more viewings of "Titanic" than their Vancouver counterparts.

In fact, when it comes to the global picture, all Canadian drivers may be able to breathe a sigh of relief.

Despite being the most congested city in Canada by far, Vancouver ranks only 40th out of the 416 cities surveyed, while Toronto is 80th. Most Canadian cities fall below the global average congestion level of 29 per cent. The full ranking of Canadian cities is as follows:

Mexico City and Los Angeles beat out Vancouver as the most congested cities in North America, according to the index, while New York City and San Francisco separated third-place Vancouver from sixth-place Toronto.

More worrying for Canadian motorists is that nearly every city surveyed is trending upward in terms of traffic levels. TomTom did not find a decrease in congestion in any of the 12 cities it surveyed, while only Winnipeg, Calgary and Edmonton were unchanged from 2018.

For Toronto, London and Hamilton, 2019 marked the second straight year of increased congestion.

It's clear from the data that rush hour plays havoc with travel times right across the country. Even in Kitchener and Waterloo, which recorded the least congestion and the shortest rush-hour delays, average trips were still 25 per cent longer during the morning rush and 33 per cent longer during the 5 p.m. hour.

While nothing compared to the delays in Vancouver or Bangalore, those numbers would still seem unfathomable to drivers in the least congested area in the TomTom index: Greensboro and High Point, N.C.

Drivers there have easy, breezy rides at virtually every time of day; even a work day sandwiched between rush hours only adds eight minutes to an hour-long commute.

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