But only by two percent - locals still spend 126 hours in traffic yearly
SINGAPORE — On Tuesday, March 22, Dutch navigation/map provider TomTom released the results of its annual Traffic Index report. This is the fifth year in which the company has used data generated by its users as a means to study traffic congestion.
For drivers in Singapore, it’s good news as our city is one of the few in the world where the traffic congestion level has decreased from 2014 to 2015, making it the 45th most congested city in a study that included 295 cities in 38 countries.
Singapore’s congestion level (which TomTom defines as “the increase in overall travel time over a free flow traffic situation”) is 31 percent. The number represents a decrease over 2014’s congestion level of 33 percent throughout the day and 65 percent in the evening peak, itself an improvement over 2013 figures at 34 percent throughout the day and 68 percent during the evening peak.
As Singapore continues to improve its public transport system, and push measures to encourage a car-light society, including the city’s first car-free day held on February 28, Kearney expects the congestion in Singapore to continue to improve over the next few years, “since 2013, the Downtown line has steadily been increasing the number of stations opened to the public and is expected to be fully open by 2017.”
The city with the highest congestion level, or extra time spent in traffic, is Mexico City with 59 percent. This is followed by Bangkok in second place with 57 percent, and Istanbul in third with 50 percent. At 45th, Singapore’s congestion level of 31 percent is favourably low to that off Bangkok.
Hovering near Singapore’s 45th place ranking are cities like Naples (46), Seattle (44) and Cape Town (47), which aren’t exactly urban paradises either. Indo-Pacific/Asian cities that Singapore’s more congested than are Melbourne (55), Xiamen (69) and Perth (72). The lowest ranked city in the region is Brisbane (25 percent), with the outright lowest score going to Knoxville, Tennessee, USA, ranked dead last at 174, which has seven percent.
While the figures might suggest there’s less ‘jamming’ in Singapore, you surely won’t be able to feel it, since two percent isn’t a big enough change to see on the roads.
Despite the decline, the TomTom Traffic Index reports that many drivers in Singapore still spend about 126 hours, or about five days a year of extra time spent in traffic. The 31 percent extra travel time is an average figure - it reaches 50 percent in the morning peak hour, and 59 percent during evening peak hour.
Kearney hopes that this report will help drivers, cities and transport planners to better understand traffic congestion trends, and hopefully improve their driving habits, “if even just five percent of us changed our travel plans, we’d improve travel times on our major highways by up to thirty percent.”