Cities with the worst traffic in the world, ranked

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You may think Los Angeles traffic is bad, but when it comes to the 2021 edition of the TomTom Traffic Index report, it doesn’t even rank in the top 50. In fact, of all the cities on Earth, only one American metropolis even makes such a list. 

So which cities earned the dubious distinction of having the worst traffic in the world, as measured by increased driving time? And which city is the worst in the United States?

To arrive at the answer, TomTom established baseline travel times during traffic-free conditions in each city. The company then calculated travel times in 404 cities in 58 countries, throughout 2021 (all day, every day).

Here’s what that data has to say. 

55. London

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London may be famous for its double-decker buses, but it’s also notorious for traffic. 

The British capital saw congestion levels rise in 2021 to 33%. 

What does that mean? A 33% congestion level means that a 30-minute trip will take 33% more time than it would during a city’s baseline, uncongested conditions.

54. Rome

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You may see a lot of sights riding around historic Rome — including the Colosseum, here — but chances are, if you’re even allowed to drive your car in a certain area, it’ll be really slow going. 

In the Eternal City, an estimated average of 75 hours was lost to commuters in 2021 thanks to traffic.

53. Vancouver, Canada

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Bonjour, traffic.

Here, cars can be seen heading in and out of downtown Vancouver, which saw an increase in traffic in 2021.

52. Brussels, Belgium

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As estimated 78 hours per year were wasted per Brussels commuter in 2021.

Rush-hour traffic on Brussels’ Rue de la Loi, seen here, helps contribute to the city’s congestion woes.

51. Taichung, Taiwan

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TomTom estimates the 2021 congestion level here was 34%.

The good news: That’s down slightly from 2020.

50. Ankara, Turkey

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Congestion levels rose in Ankara in 2021.

Here: A traffic jam in a flooded street in the city center of Ankara, Turkey, in June 2022.

49. Nagoya, Japan

Eugene Hoshiko / AP

This busy Japanese city experienced a slight increase in congestion in 2021.

Here, police officers control the traffic ahead of the G20 Foreign Ministers’ meeting in 2019, in Nagoya.

48. Chelyabinsk, Russia

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This city in the Ural Mountains saw an percent increase in traffic in 2021.

Its official flag features a decidedly less modern mode of transport: The camel.

47. Hong Kong

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Traffic levels in this busy city jumped in 2021.

Here’s a view of a traffic jam on August 7, 2022 in Hong Kong.

46. Jakarta, Indonesia

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Unlike many major metro areas, Jakarta saw a decrease in traffic in 2021, but it still ranks in the top 50.

Here, a mass of cars and motorcycles both add to the morning rush hour gridlock in Jakarta, seen in September 2017. 

45. Gdansk area, Poland

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This metro area suffered a serious traffic increase last year.

Here, a protester holds a “free media” banner while blocking road traffic is seen in Gdansk, Poland in August 2021.  People across the country protested that year to defend media freedom in Poland.

44. Edinburgh, Scotland

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The city saw a jump in traffic levels last year.

The city widely rejecting a 2005 referendum that would have instituted congestion charges for driving in the city.

43. New York City

Ted Shaffrey / AP

The only American city on TomTom’s top 50, New York in 2021 saw an average congestion level of 35%. TomTom says its figures suggest the average travel time increased by 5 min per day. On average, the worst time for traffic was Fridays between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m.

Here, a taxi sits atop bollards that protect pedestrian walking areas in the Manhattan borough of New York City in June 2022.

42. Marseille, France

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In this city, an average of 80 hours were lost in traffic in 2021.

Here, vehicles are stuck in a traffic jam at the entrance of Marseille in January 2018.

41. Cairo, Egypt

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This Egyptian capital had the small fortune of a tiny  drop in traffic in 2021.

It’s the only city in Africa to make this list.

40. Taipei, Taiwan

Wally Santana / AP

This Taiwan city saw a slight drop in traffic last year.

Here, a man pedals his way through rush hour traffic in Taipei in July 2013.

39. Rio de Janerio, Brazil

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A traffic increase plagued Rio last year.

Here, a peddler sells candies to drivers stuck at a traffic light in the Belford Roxo area of the city.

38. Szczecin, Poland

Thomas Haentzschel/AP

This city, near a border with Germany, saw a big traffic increase last year.

Here, a snow blower clears a lane of the German motorway on the way to Szczecin. 

37. Paris, France

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Drivers in the French capital spend beaucoups time in traffic, according to the TomTom report. An estimated 82 hours were lost last year for commuters in the City of Light.

Here, you can see a November 2017 traffic jam on Champs-Élysées Avenue near the Arc de Triomphe.

36. Palermo, Italy

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This Italian city had a 2021 congestion rate of 36%.

Here: A performance of Christ’s Last Supper is viewed on a street outside a church in Palermo, Sicily.

35. Dublin, Ireland

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Perhaps it was the luck of the Irish that caused Dublin’s 2021 traffic to dip slightly last year.

Winter storms are only part of Dublin’s traffic woes. 

34. Osaka, Japan

Eugene Hoshiko / AP

Traffic increased slightly here last year.

Here, a police officer controls traffic at a road leading to the venue of the G-20 summit in Osaka in June  2019.

33. Poznan, Poland

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Polish commuters here lost an average of 85 hours in traffic last year.

Traffic in Poznan is bad enough on most days. But traffic was especially bad on May 9, 2018, when this giant tanker overturned and spilled thousands of gallons of hot chocolate on Poland’s A2 highway.

32. Nizhny Novgorod, Russia

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Data suggests that travel times increased by four minutes a day here last year.

Here, people walk along a street in central Nizhny Novgorod.

31. Athens, Greece

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The city of ancient ruins and sunny skies saw a traffic increase in 2021.

Estimated time lost during rush hour for the folks here? Try five days and 15 hours over the course of a year.

30. Warsaw, Poland

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Traffic increased quite a bit here last year.

Here, Warsaw struggles with smog and traffic, seen here on Jerusalem Avenue. 

29. Izmir, Turkey

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Commuters here saw an increase in traffic congestion in 2021.

Here, a Japanese tourist in Turkey is seen with a donkey that he bought in July 2022. 

28. Mexico City, Mexico

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A total of 900 traffic jams — at one time — aren’t uncommon in this sprawling city, per TomTom data.

Here, a Mexico City guard helps manage traffic for pedestrians following a 2018 earthquake.

27. Jerusalem

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Commuters here lost an average of 87 hours to traffic in 2021.

26. Santiago, Chile

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Here, traffic begins to mount in scenic Santiago, the capital and largest city of Chile. 

Commuters here lost an average of 89 hours to traffic in 2021.

25. Dnipro, Ukraine

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All Ukraine data was collected before Russia’s invasion in late February 2022. Traffic increased 23% here last year.

The people of Dnipro, Ukraine, seen here at the city’s tram depot N3, know what it’s like to wait in traffic. 

24. Recife, Brazil

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An estimated 92 hours were sacrificed to traffic, per commuter, in Recife last year.

Traffic in Recife during World Cup games reached such intense levels that some find it more pleasant to walk, even in the rain. 

23. Rostov-on-Don, Russia

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Much like the patterns we see in the United States, traffic here is at its worst on Fridays at around 5 p.m.

Here a child rides a toy car as police officers are seen deployed on the streets of the city of Rostov-on-Don in February 2022, after calls for protests against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

22. Wroclaw, Poland

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This city saw a significant jump in traffic last year.

Usually, the streets of Wroclaw are filled with gas-powered vehicles. But in this picture, a group of men are pushing a treadmill-powered Fiat to an art gallery.

21. Pune, India

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Traffic rates here held steady between 2020 and 2021.

This traffic jam in Pune, India was caused by excessive rains. 

20. Krakow, Poland

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The average commuter lost 96 hours in traffic here last year.

Traffic is seen next to the Congress Center in Krakow, Poland’s second largest city. 

19. Lima, Peru

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In Lima, many people commute via privately owned minibuses. Still, traffic is a problem.

Traffic rates held steady here between 2020 and 2021. 

18. Manila, Philippines

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Here’s a rare bit of a good news from the world of the daily commute: Manila saw much less traffic in 2021 versus the year before.

Here traffic moves around at a snail’s pace in the capital of the Philippines. 

17. Tokyo, Japan

John S Lander

Ninety-eight hours: That’s how much time commuters in this city lost on average to traffic last year.

The lights shine bright in Tokyo — on the city’s billboards and on its cars’ brake lights. 

16. Tel Aviv, Israel

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Busy Tel Aviv saw a jump in traffic in 2021.

On average, travel times were 43% longer than during the baseline non-congested conditions. 

15. Yekaterinburg, Russia

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This city saw an increase in traffic last year.

Data suggests the average travel time increased by four minutes per day.

14. Samara, Russia

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This is the first city in the top 50 to crack more than 100 hours lost in traffic in 2021.

Here, Russian armed forces cross the Samara River using a pontoon bridge, practicing for a scenario if the four-lane road across the water was destroyed. 

13. Lodz, Poland

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This city saw an increase in traffic last year.

While the streets of Lodz are usually clogged with traffic, here the streets are clogged with people attending the city’s popular Light Move Festival in September 2017.

12. Kharkiv, Ukraine

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Commuters here lost an average of 105 hours to traffic last year.

Military checkpoints have done traffic in Ukraine no favors. 

11. New Delhi, India

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Drivers in New Delhi need to deal with not only a glut of cars on the road, but also stray cows.

The congestion level in New Delhi rose slightly in 2021.

10. Bengaluru, India

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This city in India has a congestion level of 48%.

But at least its traffic dipped slightly year over year.

9. Novosibirsk, Russia

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Traffic rates were about the same as they were in Bengaluru, but traffic worsened in Novosibirsk in 2021.

Here, cars make their way during a rush hour on a frosty morning in the Siberian city of Novosibirsk.

8. Bucharest, Romania

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As you might guess from looking at this picture of Calea Victoriei Avenue in Bucharest, this city has one of the worst traffic problems in Europe. 

Congestion levels increased in 2021.

7. St. Petersburg, Russia

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Drivers in Russia’s second-largest city spend a lot of time in traffic. 

Its congestion level increased in 2021.

6. Odesa, Ukraine

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Odesa saw an increase in traffic in 2021.

5. Mumbai, India

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Traffic held steady here last year, and remains among the world’s worst.

Here, torrential monsoon rains practically shut down traffic at Dharavi Junction in 2005. Traffic is a big problem in Mumbai even without rain.

4. Bogota, Colombia

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For a Bogota commuter, an average of 126 hours were lost to traffic in 2021.

Here, Bogota police manage the flow of cars during a 2007 blackout.

3. Kiev, Ukraine

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The capital and largest city of Ukraine was also its most congested in 2021.

According to TomTom data, its congestion level was 56% in 2021.

2. Moscow, Russia

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Established in the year 1147, the ring-like layout of Moscow was not designed for modern traffic. 

Congestion levels increased in 2021.

1. Istanbul, Turkey

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Istanbul’s already-bad traffic worsened in 2021.

In this 2016 photo, drivers on the Bosphorus Bridge stop to observe a moment of silence in memory of the founder of the Turkish Republic, Mustafa Ataturk.

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