Special Report

The World’s Worst Cities for Traffic

Cars and the mobility they offer have given us the ability to live far from where we work. This has opened endless possibilities for people looking for more space, affordable housing, and surroundings that fit their lifestyle. 

Unfortunately, automotive mobility has created mind-numbing commutes. Being stuck in traffic can be soul-draining, and is a colossal waste of time. In some of the cities, it has been estimated that drivers spend the equivalent of an entire week stuck in traffic each year. Bumper-to-bumper trips to and from work can also add stress to an already demanding job — especially for those already living in one of the most stressed-out cities in America.

Traffic declined in many cities in 2020, due to COVID-related lockdowns, business closings, and an increase in work-from-home opportunities. As the pandemic recedes in many places and cities open up again, of course, traffic is rebounding — though it may not reach former levels, at least for a while, as many companies still permit their employees to work remotely.

Based on data from the Netherlands-based mapmaking and location technology company TomTom, 24/7 Wall St. has assembled a list of the 50 worst cities and metro areas for traffic around the world, based on total days of low traffic and traffic congestion score for the admittedly anomalous year of 2020. 

These are the world’s worst cities for traffic.

Some 416 cities in 57 countries and on six continents are ranked. Americans might be pleasantly surprised to learn that while there are 80 U.S. locales on the list, none are among the 50 worst. The one with the highest congestion level is Los Angeles, at No. 85. (These are America’s 50 worst cities to drive in.)