Bangalore 6th most painful city in the World to drive in, Mexico City tops IBM Commuter Pain Study

Bangalore is the most ‘painful’ city in India to drive in, and the sixth most painful in the World, according to IBM’s fourth Commuter Pain study.

The study ranked 20 of the World’s top cities on the basis of traffic jams, driver stress etc..

The worst city in the World to drive in this year is Mexico City, the capital of the Latin American country, followed by two Chinese cities — Shenzhen and Beijing and two African ones, Nairobi and Johannesburg.

These are followed by Bangalore and New Delhi. (See chart.)

The factors used to calculate the index comprised of commuting time, time stuck in traffic, fuel price, start-stop traffic, stress, anger, work disruption and people shifting away from driving because of traffic issues.

69 percent of those surveyed indicated that traffic has negatively affected their health in some way. Some 42 percent of respondents globally reported increased stress and 35 percent reported increased anger.

This was much higher in developing cities such as New Delhi, Shenzhen and Bangalore, compared to developed ones like New York.

For example, Delhiites ranked number three in complaining about the effect of traffic on their productivity. 86 percent of the respondents in Beijing, 87 percent in Shenzhen and 70 percent in New Delhi said traffic was “a key inhibitor to work or school performance.”

However, developing cities such as Bangalore, New Delhi, Beijing and Shenzhen also reported the highest proportion of people who felt traffic has improved in the last three years.

This is in contrast to drivers in places like New York city who felt traffic was going to the dogs. The largest increases in traffic stress levels were reported in New York (45% in 2011 vs. 13% in 2010), Los Angeles (44% in 2011 vs. 21% in 2010) and Toronto (40% in 2011 vs. 14% in 2010).

In terms of traffic jams, Mexico City, Moscow, Beijing, Shenzhen and Nairobi led with delays of about two hours. On the other hand, drivers in Stockholm, Singapore, Madrid and Buenos Aires reported spending less than 30 minutes or literally no time stuck in traffic.

Perhaps as a result of all this, around 16% of the respondents have switched to public transport within the last one year.

“An astonishing 70 percent of Nairobi residents report taking public transit more often in the last year on their daily commute. The biggest movement to public transit is in emerging cities including Nairobi, Mexico City, Shenzhen, Buenos Aires and Beijing,” IBM Commuter Pain study said.

Against around 6 billion people, the World today has more than 1 billion cars, IBM pointed out. As many Delhiites may agree, building more and more roads cannot solve all the problems, pointed out Vinodh Swaminathan, director of intelligent transportation systems, IBM.