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The Swiss worst traffic is in Geneva

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The satellite navigation company TomTom, has collected over 14 trillion measurements from over 450 million GPS devices around the world, crunched the data, and worked out which cities have the worst traffic congestion. The latest ranking is based on 2016 data.

Mexico City had the worst traffic congestion. The average time lost to traffic there in 2016 was nearly one hour per day, or 227 hours across the year. On average, traffic increased driving times by 66% – TomTom’s definition of congestion, while traffic congestion more than doubled driving time at the city’s evening traffic peak: between 18:00 and 19:00.

Europe’s worst ranked city was Bucarest, which was 5th overall, with a congestion level of 50%.

Geneva came in 54th with a congestion level of 36%, putting it on par with Hong Kong and Lisbon, and well ahead of much larger cities, such as New York (35% and 64th), Singapore (34% and 75th), Sao Paulo (31% and 101st), Milan (30% and 102nd) and Chicago (26% and 173rd),

Switzerland’s other major centres: Zurich (31% and 93rd), Lausanne (29% and 116th), Basel (27% and 154th) and Bern (20% and 266th), were far behind their far western neighbour.

In Geneva an average 146 hours was lost to traffic in 2016, 3% more than in 2015. Morning and evening traffic peaks drove up travel times by 55% and 71% respectively. The worst times to be on four wheels in Geneva are between 8am to 9am and between 5pm and 6pm. Since 2008, Geneva’s congestion rate has risen by 24% from 29% to 36%.

In Zurich an average 127 hours was lost to traffic in 2016, 2% more than in 2015. Morning and evening traffic peaks drove up travel times by 48% and 63% respectively. Traffic congestion starts earlier in Zurich. The morning peak there is between 7am and 8am. The evening peak is the same as Geneva. Since 2008, Zurich’s congestion rate has risen by 19% from 26% to 31%.

In Basel an average 123 hours was lost to traffic in 2016, 2% more than in 2015. Morning and evening traffic peaks drove up travel times by 34% and 71% respectively. Basel follows the same peak pattern as Zurich, except for Thursday mornings when the crunch time is typically later between 8am and 9am. Since 2008, Basel’s congestion rate has risen by 35% from 20% to 27%.

In addition, average traffic speeds are lower in Geneva. Time lost to traffic is measured against an optimal travel speed. In Geneva the benchmark speed is 24 km/h. In Basel it is 31 km/h and in Zurich 32 km/h. Crawling speeds at traffic peaks are far lower in Geneva too. In the last 48 hours the lowest average speeds in Zurich (27 km/h) and Basel (24 km/h) were far above Geneva’s snail pace of 17 km/h.

The best overall car commuting combination would be Basel in the mornings and Zurich in the evenings. The worst would be Geneva both ways. All of this is enough to make you want to catch the train, ride a bike, or work from home.