Matthew Backhouse is a NZME. News Service journalist based in Auckland.

Wellington traffic worse than Auckland's - study

Early morning rush hour traffic in Wellington.
Early morning rush hour traffic in Wellington.

Auckland's roads may be notorious for peak-hour congestion, but Wellington drivers actually slow to a crawl more often, a study has found.

Research by GPS navigation company TomTom shows Wellington drivers experience an average of 9480 stop-starts in traffic each year.

That is 120 more than Auckland drivers, who experience an average of 9360 a year, or 1.2 per cent fewer than drivers in the capital.

The study, carried out for lubricant company Castrol, used information from TomTom's satellite navigation systems on vehicles in 50 cities worldwide.

It found drivers in both Auckland and Wellington faced fewer stop-starts than many large cities overseas, including Beijing (28,200, or 201 per cent more than Auckland), New York (15,480, or 65 per cent more) and Sydney (13,200, or 41 per cent more).

Rush hour traffic heads out of Auckland City towards the North Shore. Photo / Dean Purcell
Rush hour traffic heads out of Auckland City towards the North Shore. Photo / Dean Purcell

But surprisingly, drivers in both New Zealand cities faced more stop-starts than those in several larger cities - including Los Angeles (9000, or 3 per cent fewer than Auckland), Melbourne and Cape Town (8760, or 6 per cent fewer) and Toronto (8520, or 9 per cent fewer)

The worst city for stop-starts was Istanbul, Turkey, which had an average of 31,200 a year (233 per cent more than Auckland) while the best was Rotterdam, Netherlands, with an average of 6120 a year (35 per cent fewer than Auckland).

TomTom head of traffic Ralf-Peter Schafer said the results were fascinating.

"Istanbul's highest stop rate among the big cities corresponds to its very high congestion level, followed by Moscow and Mexico City."

He said the stop-start rate in Rotterdam went along with its low congestion.

Castrol senior development technologist Gareth Bracchi said the project confirmed drivers were making lots of stop-starts in their vehicles.

"In fact the numbers of stop-starts per year far exceeded our initial expectations - almost double in some cases!"

Castrol said drivers making more than 8000 stop-starts a year should take action to prevent engine wear.


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