Sydney and Melbourne Named as Australia’s Most Congested Cities

Sydney has been named as Australia’s worst city when it comes to traffic congestion, in an annual traffic Index report conducted by the navigation and mapping company TomTom.


The index report, which studies traffic trends in cities all over the world, said Sydney came out 30th in the world for its congestion, a position it might keep holding well into the future if not drop back. The time people spend travelling increased by one percent. This is not the first time Sydney is performing as poorly. The city’s travel time has been increasing by similar leaps from the year 2008.

The congestion translates into over 150 more hours on the road per year for commuters, making the next worst Australian city, Melbourne, pale in comparison with its 119 extra hours of travel time annually. On the global index, Melbourne is the 55th city.

The indexing is derived by comparing the most congested times and the periods of free-flowing traffic. This is then used to judge how much worse the busy times are.

Melbourne, just like Sydney, saw its travel times worsen by one percent from 2015. But that’s not the only thing they have in common. The two cities also have the same most congested days in the week. Both have the busiest mornings on Tuesday, and the worst evenings on Thursday.

But Sydney’s peaks are worse. Commuters spend 66 percent more time on the road on Tuesday’s morning peak, and 65 on Thursday’s evening peak. Melbourne, on the other hand, adds 52 percent more time in both cases.

Other state capitals in Australia featured on the index include Perth with 27 percent more travel time during congestion, Adelaide with a peak of 25 per cent more time, and Brisbane with the same 25 percent.

Hobart could not manage to secure a slot in the top list. The city’s traffic jumped up by a large 5 percent, something that has never happened from the year 2009. Canberra has been one of the bearable ones. It has 17 percent more travel time when its roads are at their worst, a percentage it has maintained for a number of years.

The cities in New Zealand were beaten by Auckland. However, globally, it was only numer 40. It has a congestion of 33 percent. Wellington had 30 percent, Christchurch came in with 27 percent, while Dunedin had 22 per cent. The least congested city in New Zealand is Hamilton. It only has a congestion of 21 percent.

Global Ranking

Globally, the world’s growth in congestion has been a consistent 13 percent. But Mexico’s traffic seems to be particularly getting worse the fastest, fast enough to take up the title of worst city  in the world.


The first place was held by Istanbul in 2015 but the city has been pushed to third place in this year’s report. Mexico City has a congestion percentage of 59 percent, and almost 100 percent for the morning and evening peak times. The congestion in Mexico’s capital city keeps commuter’s on the road for an extra 219 hours per year.

Coming at second place was Bangkok with a rating of 57 percent. During the evening peak times, traffic congestion can grow by an astounding 114 percent. Istanbul in the third slot, Rio de Janeiro in the fourth, and Moscow in fifth place were among the top five but they all improved their state of traffic over the last year. They improved by 8, 4, and 6 percent in that order.

When ranked by continent, North America has the most cities on the index. It has 78 of them tailed by Europe which has 40. The third continent was Asia having 39, South America with 9 and Oceania with 6. Africa recorded two cities. North America’s overall congestion surged by 17 percent, more than any continent. The USA contributed 70 cities to the list.