New global traffic index shows Dubai is improving

Research found Mumbai is the most congested city with Abu Dhabi ranked 396

Dubai, United Arab Emirates - May 20, 2019: Traffic on Sheikh Zayed Road. Monday the 20th of May 2019. Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai. Chris Whiteoak / The National

Traffic congestion levels in Dubai appear to be decreasing, a new global index has found.

Research by the satellite navigation technology company TomTom ranked the metropolis 202 out of 403 cities in 56 countries.

It found congestion levels in the city had dropped 4 per cent since 2017, while Abu Dhabi’s ranking – at 396 – showed neither an increase or decrease.

Congestion levels were measured by establishing how much more time motorists took to complete a journey in free-flowing traffic compared with extensive traffic jams.

“If on average you are going to travel for half an hour but there is traffic and you are spending 3.3 minutes more, that is 11 per cent waiting time in traffic,” explained Thomas Edelmann, managing director of RoadSafetyUAE, a partner of TomTom.

“This means [Dubai] is actually getting better – the lost time waiting in traffic has been reduced.”

The recent study ranked Mumbai in India as the busiest city it surveyed, with 65 per cent congestion.

At the opposite end of the scale was Cadiz in Spain, with only 9 per cent congestion. Abu Dhabi – the only other UAE city rated in the report – scored 11 per cent.

Other capitals included Bogota in Colombia at 63 per cent, Lima in Peru with 58 per cent, New Delhi, India, with 58 per cent and Moscow, Russia, with 56 per cent.

“It’s very important to understand where we [the UAE] stand globally if we want to be a modern city,” said Mr Edelmann.

“The UAE government is always trying to make life easier for its people and to make us happy. But anyone stuck in a traffic jam is not happy. It’s about international benchmarking.”

Mr Edelmann said he had seen significant improvements to roads and traffic congestion in the Emirates over recent years.

“I have been here 19 years and have seen a lot of improvements. More highways, flyovers … this is a credit to the UAE government," he said.

“We are very much at the bottom of this list, so we are doing well.”

Overall, the study found worldwide congestion to have risen over the past decade.

Nearly 75 per cent of cities included in the ranking experienced an increase in congestion between 2017 and 2018, while only 90 cities showed a decrease.

“Globally, traffic congestion is rising and that’s both good, and bad, news,” said Ralf-Peter Schäfer, TomTom’s vice president of traffic information.

“It’s good because it indicates a strong global economy, but the flip side is drivers wasting time sitting in traffic, not to mention the huge environmental impact.

“At TomTom, we’re working towards a future where vehicles are electric, shared and autonomous so that our future really is free of congestion and emissions.

“We have the technology to make this future happen – but it takes a collaborative effort.

“From road authorities, to governments; car makers to car drivers, we all have a part to play,” said Mr Schäfer.