Abu Dhabi is the world’s least congested city

03 Feb 2020

A new international traffic study has named Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates as the least congested of all the world’s capital cities.

Satellite navigation tech company TomTom carried out comprehensive research that revealed that out of 416 cities in 57 countries and six continents, Abu Dhabi ranked 410th in terms of congestion in the traffic league table.

The report compared the average time that drivers are stuck in traffic with the length that a journey should take in normal road conditions.

Trips took 10% longer when Abu Dhabi roads were congested than when they were clear last year, a reduction from 11% in 2018.

Traffic flow has also improved in Dubai, with congested routes taking 21% longer, a fall of 2% from figures that were recorded the previous year.

Abu Dhabi ranked 265th out of 416 in the study.

Four of the world’s 10 most congested cities were in India, with the most affected being Bengaluru at 71%.

Manila, the capital of the Philippines, was pushed into second place, also at 71%, and Bogota, the Columbian capital, came in third place at 68%, ahead of India’s Mumbai and Pune.

In 2019, the least congested city in the world was America’s Greensboro-High Point, which came in at just 9%, a minor improvement on Cadiz in Spain, Dayton and Syracuse in the US, Abu Dhabi, and Almere in the Netherlands.

All five of those cities scored just 10% in the study.

The amount of congestion in the cities was measured to contrast to a baseline figure in perfect road conditions, according to the report’s authors.

That figure is reached with the analysis of free-flowing travel via the road network across the entire year.

The number of drivers left frustrated and gridlocked has been increasing in general over the course of the last 10 years, and the issue still has a long way to go before it can be resolved.

TomTom’s vice president of traffic information Ralf-Peter Schäfer says that the rise of sharing services and autonomous vehicles will eventually help to relieve congestion, but policymakers and planners cannot wait for this to happen.

Schäfer says that all available tools have to be used to analyse the levels of traffic and its impact in order for important infrastructure decisions to be taken correctly.

Drivers can also play a part as enormous differences can be made just by motorists making minor changes in their driving behaviour.

Efforts to cut congestion levels in Dubai and Abu Dhabi have been stepped up by transport chiefs in recent times.

In 2007, the Salik toll gate was introduced by Dubai to try to boost the flow of traffic.

Drivers have to buy tags to put on their windscreen to register every time their vehicle goes through one of the emirate’s seven toll gates, for which they are charged Dh4 on each occasion.

Abu Dhabi also introduced a toll gate system this year.

By law, anyone driving a motor vehicle in the UAE has to be covered by a minimum basic third-party car insurance policy.