TomTom has released its 2020 Traffic Index which highlights congestion levels in 416 cities in 57 countries. Continual increases in traffic congestion throughout the last decade were brought to an abrupt halt by the Covid-19 pandemic which has turned working patterns and commuting trends upside down across much of the world. TomTom reported that their findings for 2020 are unlike anything they have seen before.
387 cities experienced a significant decrease (average of 21 percent) in overall congestion, as well as an astonishing 28 percent average decrease in congestion during rush hours. By contrast, only 13 cities saw their traffic jams increase. So where were the global traffic hotspots in 2020 despite Covid-19 paralyzing much of the world? The index shows that Bengalaru in India has now been displaced by Moscow in top spot, and it has fallen back to sixth.
It is a threeway tie for second place with Mumbai in India, Bogota in Colombia and Manila in the Philippines all seeing congestion levels of 53 percent. The only really positive side of congestion is that it's an indicator of a strong economy. It does of course come with a terrible environmental impact in addition to costing commuters considerable amounts of time.
The pandemic may provide an opportunity to change that, however, with a cleaner, safer, congestion-free future possible if society embraces a shift in mobility. More remote working possibilities and flexible hours can be key to driving that change while more mindful and eco-friendly traffic choices would help cut emissions and safeguard the environment for future generations.