Europe News

And the world’s most congested city is …

Jessica Morris, special to
Avoiding traffic jams: TomTom

Moscow is infamous for traffic jams which snake around its highways. Now, it has been named the world's worst city for car congestion.

The Russian capital has an average congestion level of 74 percent, topping the global traffic index released by Dutch GPS manufacturer Tom-Tom. The index compares travel times during non-congested hours with travel times in peak hours in 60 cities worldwide.

A traffic jam builds up along a road next to the Kremlin.
Harry Engels | Getty Images

Journeys on Moscow's highways during morning or evening peak times take around 74 minutes per hour longer, than at a time with no traffic delays. And the total yearly delay for a thirty minute commute was 128 hours.

"We know that over the last few years, car ownership has increased massively in Russia, and specifically Moscow," Nick Cohn, global traffic congestion expert at TomTom, told CNBC in a telephone interview.

"It's not just the main roads which are highly congested, but it's also the local roads. There are not a lot of quick alternatives if you're navigating through Moscow."

Istanbul took second place with 62 percent for traffic congestion. Here drivers spent an extra 66 minutes per hour for journeys at morning or peak times compared to when there was no traffic. And the total yearly delay for a thirty minute commute was 120 hours.

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Like Moscow, Istanbul has also seen huge economic growth, which has increased the number of people in employment.

"Job growth, population growth and, in addition, the growth of car ownership combine to make quite a challenging situation for drivers and local authorities," Cohn told CNBC.

Latin American countries also posted high congestion levels—Rio de Janeiro (55 percent), Mexico City (54 percent) and São Paulo (46 percent).

No shortcuts

But taking shortcuts won't help drivers avoid these cities' sprawling traffic jams.

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Drivers who divert down a city's backstreets will hit more traffic. Congestion on secondary roads is worse than main roads according to the research.

And in fact, those opting for shortcuts actually add 50% more travel time to their journeys.

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