Driving to work in Stockholm? The commute will leave you idling for longer than you would in Los Angeles, San Francisco, or London. The annual TomTom Traffic Index rates cities around the world for their rush-hour congestion as compared to non rush-hour traffic, and found Stockholm one of the worst.
In peak periods Stockholm drivers are delayed by 48 minutes per every hour of travel, meaning those with a 30 minute commute spend over 100 hours stagnant in traffic each year.
"If you commute 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes in the evening, you're delayed 102 hours per year," Stefan Högberg, TomTom's Swedish sales manager, told The Local. "That's the equivalent of 13 work days."
That is significantly above the worldwide average of eight work days annually spent sitting in traffic. Stockholm's traffic congestion has increased 30 percent over the past year, a massive jump making the city the tenth most congested in the world, eight in continental Europe, and most congested city in the Nordic nations.
Gothenburg, Sweden's second-largest city, was the third most-congested city in the Nordics last year but thanks to new daytime traffic tax dropped to ninth place in 2013.
Högberg said he is not in a position to comment on the cause of Stockholm's traffic congestion, but believes the appropriate organizations will use the information.
"We just measure traffic time and put that information out there," he told The Local. "But the authorities seem to take the criticism into account and know that something has to change."
Those planning a drive in Stockholm should avoid Monday mornings and Wednesday evenings, the absolute worst periods for congested traffic, and choose Friday evenings instead. June 10th, the Monday following Princess Madeleine's Stockholm wedding, was the most congested day of the year, although the reason is unclear.
Moscow was ranked the most congested city in the world by overall congestion level, followed by Istanbul and Rio de Janeiro. European capitals Rome and Paris were also rated as more congested than Stockholm.
The TomTom Traffic Index, "the most accurate and comprehensive barometer of traffic congestion in major cities all over the world", is compiled from data gathered by TomTom, a Dutch manufacturer of automative navigation systems.
The report, which utilizes data from 169 cities across six continents, compares travel times during non-congested hours with times during peak travel hours, meaning that while drivers in London or LA may spend longer in general sitting in traffic, the difference between normal traffic and rush hour traffic is not as dramatic. Stockholmers spend 36 percent longer in their cars during peak traffic hours than during other periods, just above the 35 percent time increase in LA and 29 percent in London.