Lincoln Tan

Lincoln Tan is the New Zealand Herald’s diversity, ethnic affairs and immigration senior reporter.

Auckland traffic jams create City of Snails

Auckland 15th on a list of the most congested cities, with drivers stuck for 47 minutes for each hour driven

Kiwis now spend a staggering 101 hours annually in peak-hour traffic. Photo / NZ Herald
Kiwis now spend a staggering 101 hours annually in peak-hour traffic. Photo / NZ Herald

The City of Sails is fast becoming the City of Snails, and is rising on a list of the world's most congested cities compiled by navigation firm TomTom.

The report, which compares congestion levels in 169 cities across six continents, found New Zealand cities were experiencing some of the biggest increases in congestion.

On the list of the most congested cities, Auckland is ranked 15th, Christchurch 17th and Wellington 37th.

New Zealanders now spend a staggering 101 hours annually in peak-hour traffic, with Auckland having the biggest increase in congestion across Australia and New Zealand.

The congestion level for Auckland is measured at 34 per cent in the last June quarter, up from 30 per cent the year before. In Christchurch and Wellington it is 32 per cent and 28 per cent respectively.

At its worst, Aucklanders are stuck in traffic for an average of 47 minutes for each hour driven.

Tuesday mornings are the worst times to be travelling around New Zealand's largest city, and congestion levels rise to over 85 per cent compared with non-peak times.

Commuters enjoy the best run on either a Friday morning or Monday evening when the levels drop to around 60 per cent.

The survey ranks Moscow as the most congested city, followed by Istanbul and the Polish city of Lodz.

A spokeswoman for TomTom said cities such as New Delhi, Beijing and Bangkok - which feature on other most congested cities lists - were not included.

The report is based mainly on travel time information obtained from TomTom customers in cities where the company is active. The spokeswoman said it was only the second time New Zealand had been included and the first time for South America.

Chris Kearney, vice-president TomTom Asia Pacific, said: "With the publication of the index, we aim to help governments and road authorities make more informed decisions about tackling ... traffic congestion."

The New Zealand Transport Agency said it was working to improve traffic flow in cities through investment in public transport services and infrastructure, roading and facilities.

"Our investment in public transport is at unprecedented levels, having risen by over 20 per cent nationwide in just three years," said agency spokesman Anthony Frith.

"We're also investing in walking and cycling facilities that will get people out of their cars and onto their bikes or travelling by foot."

In Auckland, the agency was investing $3.4 billion in the region's transport system, including $1.6 billion for state highways, $968 million for roads and $890 million for public transport.


Travel times

101 - Number of hours Kiwis spend stuck in peak-hour traffic a year
47 - minutes for every driving hour that Aucklanders get stuck in a jam
34% - Auckland's congestion level


World's most congested cities

1. Moscow
2. Istanbul
3. Lodz
14. Sydney
15. Auckland
17. Christchurch
37. Wellington

(Tom Tom Australia & NZ Traffic Index)

- NZ Herald

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