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Global congestion rank drops, but time spent in traffic in city remains the same

Mumbaiites spent 65% more time stuck in traffic, same as 2018 when it was ranked first
By Tanushree Venkatraman and Megha Sood
PUBLISHED ON JAN 29, 2020 11:56 PM IST

Mumbai was ranked the fourth most congested city in the world – a drop from the top slot in 2018 – as motorists are forced to spend 65% more time on roads during peak hours, according to the TomTom Traffic Index 2019. While the rank may have dropped three places, the ground reality for Mumbai hasn’t changed, as the amount of time Mumbaiites wasted owing to traffic congestion in 2018, too, was 65%.

Mumbaiites spend 209 hours or 8 days and 17 hours in traffic each year, the report stated. City residents have been facing traffic nightmares for the past few years, with the simultaneous construction of eight Metro lines in the city. Road and drainage works taken up by the civic body add to the traffic woes. Congestion level is the extra time taken for travel during peak hours, compared to the time taken when the roads are not congested. According to the report, the worst time to travel in Mumbai is between 7pm and 8pm on Fridays, when the traffic congestion on highways touches 52% and non-highways is 72%.

Vinod Kumar P, strategic business development manager at TomTom India, said the rise in congestion in Mumbai was a result of growing number of vehicles, severe monsoon and infrastructure projects. “The data can help commuters plan their travel better. Like they can avoid travelling between 7pm and 8pm on Fridays,” he said, adding Mumbai’s congestion level was the highest on September 9 (101%). “It could be because of the severe rainfall.”

Topping the list is Bengaluru, with its congestion level at 71%, followed by Manila, Philippines at 71%. Ranking third is Bogota, Colombia, which has seen a rise in congestion levels to 68% in 2019, from 63% in 2018. Bengaluru and Manila were not on the list last year. Pune stands fifth with 59% congestion, while Indian capital New Delhi stood eighth with 56% congestion.

The GPS-based study analysed the traffic situation in 416 cities in 57 countries in 2019, with a population of more than eight lakh as one of the criteria to consider a city. Based out of Amsterdam, TomTom is an independent location technology specialist. While TomTom has been releasing global traffic congestion data for a decade, it included Indian cities in 2018. The study states traffic congestion has increased globally over the past decade.

Werner van Huyssteen, general manager, TomTom India, said: “Globally, there’s a long road to travel until congestion levels are brought under control. In time, the car-sharing services will help alleviate congestion, however, planners and policymakers need to use the tools available with them to analyse traffic levels and impacts, so they can make critical infrastructure decisions.”

AV Shenoy, a Mumbai-based transport expert, said, “Faulty planning is a major reason behind traffic congestion. The number of cars on the roads is increasing by the day, without any kind of deterrent. The growth of area around Mumbai also needs to be expedited to control congestion on streets.”

A senior official from the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) said the state government’s master plan to build 337km of Metro network in and around Mumbai will reduce the congestion levels in the coming years.

“We expect 1.25 crore people to use the Metros by 2031, which will reduce road trips drastically. All 14 Metro lines are expected to be completed by 2026,” the official stated.

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