This week, new figures included in the the 2020 TomTom Traffic Index showed the most congested cities in China, with Chongqing once again in the top spot. Traffic was an average of 42 percent backed up in the city (meaning an average 42 percent increase in travel time compared with the free flow of traffic).
Congestion in Chongqing reached a morning peak of 87 percent and an evening peak of 86 percent. These numbers also earned the city the 17th place in TomTom's global ranking.
The coronavirus pandemic caused Chinese cities to rank higher on the 2020 index since lockdowns throughout the year caused traffic volumes to decrease in other countries more than they did in China. Overall, traffic wait times in China's most congested cities decreased, with the average of backed up traffic in the eight most affected Chinese cities changing from a range of 41-33 percent in 2019 to a range of 42-24 percent in 2020.
Capital Beijing came in eight, down from fifth place in 2019 and third place in 2017. In the global ranking this is the equivalent of losing almost 90 ranks - from rank 30 in 2018 to rank 117 in 2020 - despite the changed conditions in 2020.
China has been struggling with high congestion levels in the last decade, resulting from population growth in the cities and rising car ownership rates, but in recent years the country has been trying to tackle the problem by using license plate restrictions and expanding public transit, among others.