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Global traffic congestion up, but UAE’s 2 main cities compare well - TomTom Traffic Index

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TomTom Traffic Index: Global traffic congestion up, but UAE’s 2 main cities compare well; Bengaluru takes Crown of ‘World’s Most Traffic Congested City’

  • Ninth edition of the annual TomTom Traffic Index provides detailed insights on live and historic road congestion levels in cities around the world
  • 57% of countries included see increase in traffic congestion, while both Abu Dhabi (-1%) and Dubai (-2%) see decreases
  • Global average congestion level is 29%, while Abu Dhabi’s is 10% and Dubai is 21%
  • Drivers, city planners, automakers and policy makers can use the TomTom Traffic Index to help tackle traffic-related challenges
  • Fully interactive report is available online at

Amsterdam and Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 4 February 2020TomTom, a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Partner of RoadSafetyUAE released the results of the 9th TomTom Traffic Index, a report detailing the traffic situation in 416 cities in 57 countries. Bengaluru takes the top spot this year with drivers in the southern Indian city expecting to spend an average of 71% extra travel time stuck in traffic. Next in the global rankings are Philippine capital, Manila (71%); Bogota in Colombia (68%); last year’s most congested city, Mumbai (65%); and Pune (59%), also in India; making up the top five most congested cities in the world.

The UAE has again done very well this year:

  • Dubai – ranked 265th globally with a congestion level of 21% which is a decrease of 2% vs. 2018
  • Abu Dhabi - ranked 410th globally with a congestion level of 10% which is a decrease of 1% vs. 2018
  • More details can be found at the bottom of this press release (page 3)

Greater Moscow (Oblast) takes the lead in Europe (59%) with Istanbul (55%) coming a close second. Kyiv (53%), Bucharest (52%), and Saint Petersburg (49%) make up the rest of the top five. Paris (39%), Rome (38%) and London (38%) ranked in at 14th, 15th and 17th respectively.

In the US, the top five most congested cities are Los Angeles (42%), New York (37%), San Francisco (36%), San Jose (33%) and Seattle (31%).

The TomTom Traffic Index report is available online (, is interactive, and allows visitors to explore the traffic situation in their own city – with live traffic information helping them to make better travel decisions.

Congestion up, globally: At what cost?

Traffic congestion has increased globally during the last decade, and the 239 cities (57%) TomTom included in the new Traffic Index report had increased congestion levels between 2018 and 2019, with only 63 cities showing measurable decreases. This global increase in congestion, despite being an indicator of a strong economy, is understood to cost economies billions.

Ralf-Peter Schäfer, TomTom’s VP of Traffic Information, said: “Globally, there’s a long road to travel until congestion levels are brought under control. In time, the rise of autonomous vehicles and car- sharing services will help alleviate congestion, but planners and policymakers can’t afford to sit and wait. They need to use all the tools available to them to analyze traffic levels and impacts, so they can make critical infrastructure decisions. And drivers have a role to play too. Small changes in driving behaviours can make a huge difference.”

Analyzing real-time incidents and congestion to predict traffic before it happens, TomTom’s Real-Time Traffic makes TomTom navigation software more accurate with enhanced route calculations and accurate estimated times of arrival (ETA). That’s why TomTom is the market leader, with its traffic technology in millions of cars on the road around the world. TomTom Traffic knows the road ahead, saving time, fuel and stress for drivers, fleet and logistics providers, on-demand services (ride hailing, food delivery), and traffic management services.

And the location technology specialist’s work on the future of driving – from high definition maps for autonomous vehicles, to efficient electric vehicle routing and charging – means that car makers, technology companies, road authorities and governments already have the tools to make the roads less congested.

There’s also helpful advice on beating traffic congestion.

1. Plan before you go. Taking a few moments before heading out the door to inform yourself on the road conditions on the way to your destination will help you consider your alternatives and decide on the best course of action.

2. Trust technology to help you. It may be uncomfortable to take the road less traveled simply because your satnav suggests it’s the fastest one. Often, if you cannot see that a road is indeed congested, it is hard to believe it. Dare to take the alternative route offered by up-to-date navigation, because it is basing its recommendation on real-time traffic conditions on the route you are taking.

3. Change your driving habits. Most often, traffic will peak at certain times of the day, depending on location. This is clear in each of the city pages in the TomTom Traffic Index report, where we provide the average congestion level for each hour of each day of the week. Use the information available to adjust your departure time accordingly. Leaving early or late from a location might mean avoiding time spent in traffic on the road.

4. Consider alternatives. Does your trip have to be made by car? If your planned activity is time-sensitive and you cannot change your departure times, consider ride-sharing, public transport or non-motorized options such as cycling or scooters.

5. Work with your city. Ultimately, improving mobility in our cities is a collaborative effort. Together, city authorities, vehicle manufacturers, traffic signal system providers, parking facilities, traffic information providers, shared mobility providers, startups and, most importantly, the public, are experimenting and transforming cities worldwide. Inform yourself of the initiatives taking place in your urban area and how you can benefit from them.

Abu Dhabi and Dubai, UAE - Details

Abu Dhabi - ranked 410th globally with a congestion level of 10% which is a decrease of 1% vs. 2018,

Congestion level highways: 3% extra travel time stuck in traffic; and non-highways: 14%.

Congestion level morning travel peak: 17% (extra 5 minutes per 30 minutes trip); and evening travel peak: 18% (extra 5 minutes per 30 minutes trip)

Dubai - ranked 265th globally with a congestion level of 21% which is a decrease of 2% vs. 2018,

Congestion level highways: 16% extra travel time stuck in traffic; and non-highways: 26%.

Congestion level morning travel peak: 31% (extra 9 minutes per 30 minutes trip) and evening travel peak: 43% (extra 13 minutes per 30 minutes trip)


Thomas Edelmann, Managing Director of RoadSafetyUAE comments: “In order to further improve road safety in the UAE we need a better understanding via better data. TomTom sets a great example by including the 2 main UAE cities in their global survey. Traffic congestion is of key importance for road safety, because when motorists get caught in congestions, we see a lot of impolite and dangerous behavior. From our own studies we observe, that UAE’s motorists give a lot of credit to the UAE authorities for continuously improving the road infrastructure. Traffic congestion adds costs to economies via lost working hours, it adds inconvenience to drivers via extra travel time and it should be avoided from a road safety perspective. It is great to see the 2 main UAE cities to fare pretty well on a global level.”


About TomTom

TomTom is the leading independent location technology specialist, shaping mobility with highly accurate maps, navigation software, real-time traffic information and services.

To achieve our vision of a safer world, free of congestion and emissions, we create innovative technologies that keep the world moving. By combining our extensive experience with leading business and technology partners, we power connected vehicles, smart mobility and, ultimately, autonomous driving.

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