Ahead of the Commonwealth Games in Delhi, a new study has ranked the national capital fifth among 20 cities of the world where traffic is nightmarish, adversely affecting people’s heath and productivity.
New Delhi, which will receive thousands of athletes and foreign tourists during the mega sporting event, scored 81 out of 100 in IBM’s ‘Commuter Pain Study’, reflecting its failure to keep the transportation infrastructure at pace with economic activity.
The study, conducted in 20 economically important cities of the world, interviewed 8,192 motorists, a majority of whom said daily commute has become a longer and more gruelling task than before.
According to the study, released today, Beijing and Mexico City scored 99 each out of 100 in the commuter pain index to become the top two cities in the world having the worst traffic jams.
With a score of 97, Johannesburg is the third worst city for commuters, while Russian capital Moscow is at fourth place with a score of 84.
Brazilian city Sao Paolo is ranked sixth, followed by the Italian city of Milan, Argentinian capital Buenos Aires, Spain’s capital Madrid and London.
Swedish capital Stockholm, with a low index score of 15, is the best city for commuters, while cities like Melbourne and Houston had also had among the most pain-free roadway traffic, found the survey.
Among American cities, Los Angeles had the worst traffic, scoring 25 on the commuter pain scale, followed by New York and Houston.
According to the survey, about 49 per cent said the traffic problems had become worse while 18 per cent said it had become a lot worse.
Conversely, only 20 per cent of those surveyed said the situation had improved at all and only 5 per cent said it had improved substantially.
Interestingly, in the category of substantial improvement, New Delhi and Beijing led the way at 17 per cent and 16 per cent respectively, the report said.
“This can be attributed to new transportation capacity being aggressively added in both these cities,” it said.
The study also highlighted how traffic problems have an adverse impact on commuters’ health.
While 30 per cent of the total respondents reported increased stress from traffic, 27 per cent said there is an increase in anger and 29 per cent said traffic woes have harmed their performance in work or school.
“The congestion in many of today’s developing cities is a relatively recent phenomenon, having paralleled the rapid economic growth of those cities during the past decade or two,” said the report.
“We know the enormity of this problem - both in its objective and subjective dimensions. Traffic congestion does not just add stress to our already-stressful lives; it impedes economic development while increasing air pollution,” it said.
The survey also found that for about a quarter of the respondents, increase in gas prices would be factor which would drive commuter to considering other forms of transportation to go to work.
Stating that there won’t be any reduction in number of cars on the roads in near future, the report also called for other steps, including taking help of advanced technology, to tackle the problem.