Navigation company TomTom tallied its 2023 Traffic Index Rankings, using data gleaned from road users in 387 cities, across 55 countries located on six continents worldwide. From average travel times, rush hour traffic times, and fuel costs to CO2 emissions, there's a lot of information to take in.

Here are the 10 Most Congested City Centers Worldwide in 2023

Among the many data points it assembled, TomTom gathered data for both the city centers and metro areas of 387 major cities around the globe. We'll take a look at the top 10 in each category to see what we can learn.

First up, let's look at the top 10 worst city centers in 2023 for traffic congestion.

City Average Travel Time Per 10 Kilometers (6.2 miles) Change from 2022 Time Lost Per Year During Rush Hour Traffic Average Speed During Rush Hour
London, England 37 minutes and 20 seconds + 1 minute 148 hours 14 kilometers per hour (or about 8.7 miles per hour)
Dublin, Ireland 29 minutes and 30 seconds + 1 minute 158 hours 16 km/h (or 9.9 mph)
Toronto, Canada 29 minutes + 50 seconds 98 hours 18 km/h (or 11.1 mph)
Milan, italy 28 minutes, 50 seconds + 20 seconds 137 hours 17 km/h (or 10.56 mph)
Lima, Peru 28 minutes, 30 seconds + 1 minute and 20 seconds 157 hours 17 km/h (or 10.56 mph)
Bengaluru, india 28 minutes, 10 seconds - 1 minute 132 hours 18 km/h (or 11.1 mph)
Pune, India 27 minutes, 50 seconds + 30 seconds 128 hours 19 km/h (or 11.8 mph)
Bucharest, Romania 27 minutes, 40 seconds + 20 seconds 150 hours 17 km/h (or 10.56 mph)
Manila, Philippines 27 minutes, 20 seconds + 20 seconds 105 hours 19 km/h (or 11.8 mph)
Brussels, Belgium 27 minutes + 20 seconds 104 hours 18 km/h (or 11.1 mph)

Compare that to the 10 Most Congested Metro Areas Worldwide in 2023

If we widen our view from city centers out to entire metro areas, the data shifts dramatically.

Here are the top 10 metro areas worldwide with the worst congestion as measured by TomTom in 2023.

City Average Travel Time Per 10KM (or 6.2 Miles) Change from 2022 Time Lost Per Year During Rush Hour Traffic Average Speed During Rush Hour
Manila, Philippines 25 minutes, 30 seconds + 50 seconds 117 hours 19 kilometers per hour (or 11.8 miles per hour)
Lima, Peru 24 minutes, 20 seconds + 30 seconds 116 hours 20 km/h (or 12.42 mph)
Bengaluru, India 23 minutes, 50 seconds - 40 seconds 109 hours 21 km/h (or 13 mph)
Sapporo, Japan 23 minutes, 30 seconds - 50 seconds 63 hours 23 km/h (or 14.29 mph)
Bogota, Colombia 23 minutes, 30 seconds - 1 minute and 10 seconds 117 hours 20 km/h (or 12.42 mph)
Taichung, Taiwan 22 minutes, 30 seconds - 10 seconds 58 hours 24 km/h (or 14.91 mph)
Mumbai, India 22 minutes, 30 seconds - 20 seconds 91 hours 23 km/h (or 14.29 mph)
Kaohsiung, Taiwan 22 minutes, 20 seconds + 20 seconds 54 hours 24 km/h (or 14.91 mph)
Pune, India 22 minutes, 10 seconds no change 83 hours 23 km/h (or 14.29 mph)
Nagoya, Japan 22 minutes, 10 seconds no change 65 hours 24 km/h (or 14.91 mph)

US Cities Aren't as Bad as You Might Think

If you're in the US and you're wondering where all the usual suspects ranked, you might be somewhat pleasantly surprised to see that none of our cities cracked the top 10, either by city center or metro area.

In the Most Congested City Center of 2023 rankings, you have to scroll all the way down to number 20 on the list to see your first American city. Any guesses what it might be?

If you guessed New York, New York, you're right on the money. Road users there spend an average of 24 minutes and 50 seconds to go 10 kilometers (or 6.2 miles) in traffic during rush hour in the center of the city. That's 20 seconds longer than the time recorded in 2022, for a total of 112 hours spent in rush hour traffic. The average speed is 20 kilometers per hour, or about 12.42 miles per hour.

For worldwide metro area traffic congestion rankings in 2023, you have to scroll quite a bit longer. New York is once again the top most congested metro area in the US, but it's number 248 on the worldwide ranking. In fact, several other cities in North America outrank NYC as having worse metro area traffic congestion, including Mexico City, Mexico and eight cities in Canada. 

The Top 10 Most Congested City Centers in the US in 2023

That might be some comfort to riders and drivers in major urban centers in the US, but it still doesn't tell us what we're working with. Know what does? Data!

Here are TomTom's top 10 most congested city centers in the US in 2023:

City World Ranking Average Travel Time Per 10 Kilometers (or 6.2 miles) Change From 2022 Time Lost Per Year In Rush Hour Traffic Average Speed In Rush Hour Traffic
New York, New York 20 24 minutes, 50 seconds + 20 seconds 112 hours 20 kilometers per hour (or 12.42 miles per hour)
Washington DC 55 21 minutes, 20 seconds + 10 seconds 86 hours 23 km/h (or 14.29 mph)
San Francisco, California 71 20 minutes, 30 seconds no change 75 hours 25 km/h (or 15.5 mph)
Boston, Massachusetts 97 19 minutes, 10 seconds + 20 seconds 86 hours 25 km/h (or 15.5 mph)
Chicago, Illinois 128 17 minutes, 50 seconds - 10 seconds 86 hours 26 km/h (or 16.15 mph)
Baltimore, Maryland 135 17 minutes, 40 seconds + 20 seconds 40 hours 30 km/h (or 18.64 mph)
Seattle, Washington 206 15 minutes, 50 seconds + 20 seconds 55 hours 32 km/h (or 19.88 mph)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 217 15 minutes, 40 seconds + 10 seconds 54 hours 32 km/h (or 19.88 mph)
Los Angeles, California 233 15 minutes + 30 seconds 89 hours 29 km/h (or 18 mph)
Miami, Florida 234 15 minutes + 30 seconds 66 hours 32 km/h (or 19.88 mph)

The Top 10 Most Congested Metro Areas in the US in 2023

As we noted in the worldwide rankings, city centers and metro areas are two completely different things. Taking in a wider view of the metro areas across the US, we find that the data looks different yet again.

Here are the top 10 metro areas with the most traffic congestion in 2023, according to TomTom.

City Worldwide Ranking Average Travel Time Per 10 Kilometers (or 6.2 Miles) Change From 2022 Time Lost Per Year In Rush Hour Traffic Average Speed In Rush Hour Traffic
New York, New York 248 13 minutes no change 34 hours 40 kilometers per hour (or 24.85 miles per hour)
Honolulu, Hawaii 249 13 minutes + 10 seconds 48 hours 37 km/h (or 22.99 mph)
McAllen, Texas 264 12 minutes, 40 seconds + 10 seconds 34 hours 42 km/h
San Francisco, California 275 12 minutes, 20 seconds + 10 seconds 44 hours 40 km/h (or 24.85 mph)
Los Angeles, California 281 12 minutes, 10 seconds + 20 seconds 50 hours 39 km/h (or 24.23 mph)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 283 12 minutes + 10 seconds 30 hours 43 km/h (or 26.71 mph)
Seattle, Washington 289 11 minutes, 50 seconds + 10 seconds 37 hours 43 km/h (or 26.71 mph)
Miami, Florida 290 11 minutes, 50 seconds + 20 seconds 41 hours 42 km/h (or 26.09 mph)
Chicago, Illinois 291 11 minutes, 50 seconds no change 34 hours 43 km/h (or 26.71 mph)
Portland, Oregon 292 11 minutes, 40 seconds + 20 seconds 33 hours 45 km/h (or 27.96 mph)

What Does This Mean for Riders?

Your mileage most definitely varies if you're a rider. The reason: Lane splitting and filtering and where those traffic behaviors are legal. Spend any amount of time in most congested cities in Asia and you'll see that filtering is a matter of course. Motorcycles and scooters of all types weave in and out of slow-moving traffic and filter their way up to stoplights as the usual way of doing things.

In the US, lane filtering is legally allowed in more places than lane splitting. However, in most states in the US, neither is currently considered legal. Thus, if you live and ride in a congested city in those states, you're not supposed to do either of those things that previous studies have shown might make traffic flow more smoothly for everyone (not just bikes).

In any case, the survey data has been presented in a very cool tool that you might want to check out for yourself. We've included the link in our Sources so you can check it out.

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