30 Hours of your Life are Spent in Traffic Every Year

Posted on May 11, 2017 - American traffic data company, Inrix, have just released the most comprehensive study on traffic congestion ever conducted and it is a good news / bad news story for Vancouverites.

Damned Lies and Statistics

Burrard Bridge Rush-hour

Inrix concluded the average commuter in Vancouver and the lower mainland, spends 30 hours of their time, each and every year, sitting in traffic, a rank of 157th place in the world standings. Before you begin to feel too good about that you need to know that the survey was conducted in 1,064 cities across 38 countries.

It’s All About Who You Believe

The bad news keeps on coming. Vancouver went up the rankings a full 100 places this year – last year we were at 257th, but it is still better than the TomTom 2016 survey which declared Vancouver to be the fourth most congested city in North America and the number one in Canada.

Depends On How You Measure It

The difference between Vancouver’s rankings in the two surveys is down to a differing definition of what is congestion and a different methodology for measuring traffic flow and speed. I choose to place more faith in the Inrix study as it measures what drivers consider to be congested.

It Could Always Be Worse

One silver lining is that Vancouver is lagging behind other Canadian cities when it comes to traffic congestion. The Canadian winner, or loser depending on how you look at it, is Montreal where you can spend 52 hours a year stuck in traffic, which came in at 27th. This was followed by Toronto which placed 53rd with ‘only’ 45 hours of your life wasted away on the road.

Not Everywhere Was Counted

There are some important countries and cities missing from the survey. For instance, China was excluded because it’s data was self-reported, and Inrix only used data they had gathered themselves and could verify. So we might have been further down the rankings if Chongqing, Beijing and Chengdu were included as all three cities ranked in the top ten of the Tom Tom survey.

Survey Snapshots

If you would like to feel better about the time you spend sitting still, staring at the bumper of the vehicle in front of you, here are some other statistics from the Inrix survey.

  • Los Angeles commuters spend, on average 100 hours,  a year stuck in traffic jams. LA ranked first in the Inrix survey with the worst congestion in the world.
  • Dublin has the slowest traffic in a major city with vehicles moving an average of just 7.5kph during periods of congestion and only 5.5 kph during rush hours. So that you know walking speed is 5.5 kph.
  • The cost of congestion in London was more than 6 billion pounds in 2016, costing each car driving Londoner 1911 pounds each.

So next time you are tapping your steering wheel and quietly seething on Granville Street with stationary traffic all around you, just remember, it could be a lot worse, you could be in Toronto!

We’re Listening

It is easy to characterise drivers stuck in traffic as angry, tense, and ready to explode. Perhaps you have a funny story about being stuck in traffic to restore our faith in humanity. If so, please share, we could do with the cheering up!

Canadian, blogger - Wife, ginger, mom of 5. Mess maker, bad crafter, book lover, autism mom, insomniac & eternal optimist. More articles by Patricia Barnes
  • David Francis Faber

    I think a more enlightning article would be about the number of hours a month the average person spends commuting by vehicle to their workplace. I read a few years ago that the average commute in the lowermainland was 2hour by vehicle back and forth from home to work and back home. That would be 10 hours a week or 40hours per month. A whole work week donated to commuting or a whole week of healthy sleeping or playing donated to commuting.

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