According to an annual study conducted by GPS systems manufacturer TomTom in 2014, Bucharest is the city with the biggest traffic jams in Europe, with a congestion level of 41%. Romania’s capital surpasses cities such as London (37%), Marseille (36%), and Paris (35%), being close to Warsaw (40%) and Rome (38%).
TomTom conducts a study on traffic congestion worldwide (200 cities) annually. The study defines congestion as the percentage of extra travel time needed to perform a journey compared with the time it takes to make the same journey in off-peak hours.
Istanbul leads last year's ranking with a congestion level of 58%, followed by Mexico City with 55%, Rio de Janeiro (51%), Moscow (50%), Salvador (46%), Recife (45%), Saint Petersburg (44%), and Bucharest (41%).
In Bucharest, the rush hours for car traffic are 7:00-9:00, and 16:00-18:00, shows the 2016-2030 interim report of the Bucharest-Ilfov Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan, cited by local Hotnews.ro. However, the city’s entry and exit routes are crowded throughout the day.
On Tuesday mornings, the index of congestion is much higher during rush hours (84%) than the average values, a similar situation being registered on Friday evenings (87%).
“The average index of congestion during evening rush hours is 82% and is higher than the one registered during morning rush hours – 78%. Moreover, the congestion on secondary streets is much higher than the congestion on main streets,” reads the report.
Most people use their cars during rush hours to get to work or job-related places. Taking the children to or from school and going shopping are the other main reasons Bucharesters use their cars.
The report also shows that the number of trips made by car represent about half of the total trips made on distances longer than 1 km and are much higher than all the trips made by public transportation.
When it comes to why Bucharesters choose to travel by car, the report shows that one of the main reasons is the free parking.
“In fact, according to the survey on preferences, the introduction of a unique parking fee of RON 5 (per hour - e.n.) would reduce the use of cars by up to 56% compared to the current car traffic flow," reads the document.
Another reason is that the public transportation doesn’t satisfy the accessibility needs, as one in two travelers have to change the bus, the tram or the trolleybus during a trip.
The report also shows that the total number of trips made in Bucharest and Ilfov amounts to more than 6 million per day.
“The average number of trips is 2.7 per person, and of only 1.8 trips per day when it doesn’t involve walking. The ratio is low compared to other European cities with a much higher number of trips per person: Amsterdam - 3.1, Budapest - 3.6, and Paris - 4.2.”
More than 80% of the trips in Bucharest don’t exceed 10 km, the average distance being 6.8 km.
According to the report, parking fees and highway fees are some of the solutions that might change the situation in Bucharest’s traffic.
Irina Popescu, [email protected]