When it comes to getting stuck in traffic on the way to and from work, Nigeria’s leading commercial hub, Lagos, leads the way and ranks as the most congested city in the world.
When it comes to getting stuck in traffic on the way to and from work, Nigeria’s leading commercial hub, Lagos, leads the way and ranked as the city with the most traffic congestion in the world. According to the latest data released in June 2022 by Numbeo - the world's largest cost of living database, Lagos State recorded a traffic index of 348.69, higher than 344.06 index for Los Angeles ranking 2nd and 331.12 index for San Jose ranking 3rd. By definition, the Traffic Index is a composite index of time consumed in traffic due to job commute, estimation of time consumption dissatisfaction, CO2 consumption estimation in traffic and overall inefficiencies in the traffic system.
Traffic is a common phenomenon is most commercial cities across the globe, however, the intensity of congestion varies from country to country. In many commercial cities, high traffic congestion is primarily due to congestion caused by high number of motor vehicles plying the roads, bad road networks and population density. This usually leads to adverse effects such as reduced productivity, the release of harmful emissions that lower the air quality, high fuel consumption, damage to vehicles and many more.
Breakdown of Traffic Indices
According to the breakdown provided by Numbeo, the scorecard is based on the following indices:
Traffic Index – It represents a composite index of time consumed in traffic due to job commute, estimation of time consumption dissatisfaction, CO2 consumption estimation in traffic and overall inefficiencies in the traffic system.
Time Index - An average one way time needed to transport, in minutes.
Time Exp. Index - An estimation of dissatisfaction due to long commute times. It assumes that the dissatisfaction of commute times increases exponentially with each minute after one way commute time is longer than 25 minutes.
Inefficiency Index - An estimation of inefficiencies in the traffic. High inefficiencies are usually caused by the fact that people drive a car instead of using a public transport or long commute times.
CO2 Emission Index - An estimation of CO2 consumption due to traffic time. Measurement unit is grams for the return trip.
The Global Ranking: Lagos, Los Angeles and San Jose lead the pack
Lagos, Nigeria leads the pack as the city with the most traffic, with an index score of 348.69. Some of the major reasons why the city has high traffic congestion, asides from the small city hosting its twenty million plus population, include high number of vehicles within the state, poor road networks and poor drainage systems with attendant floods on major motor ways during the rainy season. As of 2019, the Lagos State government published that over 1.6 million vehicles ply Lagos roads annually, implying 226 cars on Lagos roads per km compared to the National average of 16 cars per km.
A recent report estimated that on average, the additional amount spent by car owners on fuel weekly due to traffic congestion is N3,044.97 (range, the difference between the highest and the lowest amount, was N16,800). The report further stated that traffic congestion costs Lagos commuters who use public transport N79,039.40 each year in extra transport fares and those who own their vehicles N133,978.68 annually in extra fuel costs.
Ranking second on the list is the United State’s Los Anegeles, recording an average traffic index (in minutes) of 61.07. According to a report from Los Angeles Times, being stuck in traffic cost the average U.S. driver $1,400 and nearly $300 billion for all drivers nationwide. One of the things that has characterized Los Angeles over the past quarter century is that the metropolitan area has been continuing to grow with increasing number of car ownership. In June 2022, L.A city officials announced the temporarily closure of a stretch of Griffith Park Drive, which cuts through the heart of the park — eliminating car traffic in an effort to improve safety for cyclists, runners, hikers and equestrians. The movement caught momentum after the death of experienced cyclist Andrew Jelmert, who was struck from behind by a car during a training ride through the park in April.
San Jose, Costa Rica ranks third city globally with the most congested traffic situation. The city recorded an average traffic index (in munites) of 64.02.
In Africa, Kenya, Egypt and South Africa are joint top
After Lagos Nigeria, Nairobi's Kenya places second on the Africa’s list with an index score of 259.83. Also known as one of the fastest growing cities in the world, its root cause of traffic can be attributed to, poor road quality and an incessant number of constructions going on, that tend to disrupt traffic routes as a result of its rapid urbanisation.
Cairo, Egypt places third on this list with an index score of 244.23. Cairo is the commercial hub of Egypt. It hosts no less than twelve million plus citizen, which is about one-fifth of the general population in the country.
Four cities in South Africa rankk top on the list. Pretoria, Cape town, Johannesburg and Durban are placed fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh, with index scores of 230.51, 212.92, 200.76 and 121.29, respectively. According to the United Nations, South Africa is experiencing continuing urbanisation that might leave 71.3% of South African population living in urban areas by 2030, which is expected to reach nearly 80% by 2050. Consequently, there is a rapid rural-urban drift in the country.