There seems not to be very good news for Bucharest. Drivers in the city are in second place in Europe by time lost in traffic because of congestion, according to the latest analysis of TomTom on the most congested cities in the world.
Driving in the city’s dense urban area lost 143 hours yearly to traffic. People driving on Bucharest’s roads spent 277 hours commuting at peak hours.
The only upside for drivers in the Romanian capital is that, on average, a typical 10 km journey took 10 seconds less in 2022 than in 2021. So, drivers in Bucharest might be some of the biggest losers to traffic at peak times, but overall, traffic has improved slightly since last year. In Dublin, the time got worse by nearly two minutes.
I might be 10 seconds less, but the whooping time spent driving 10 km in the city is huge: 27 minutes 20 seconds take an average Bucharest driver to cover this distance.
Bucharest is 7 in the world as the most congested city, but it’s more to it than that. It’s about the pollution that generates such terrible traffic, the diseases resulting from it, and the economic loss caused by the time spent in traffic jams. In fact, according to TomTom, the time lost annually by Bucharest drivers in traffic equals the time needed to read 55 books.
If no congestion in the city, there will be 143 hours spent wisely for each driver. Or less wisely, but even so, drivers could spend their leisure time the way they want. Yes, it’s idealist, but still, hours can be shaved off this statistic by improving the traffic in the city.
What is to be done? Bucharest Mayors try everything, from smart traffic lights and one-way traffic streets to improving public transport in the city, but nothing seems to work. It seems drivers in Bucharest could use the time spent in traffic more innovatively. Instead of cursing the other drivers and horning all the time, one could better learn Japanese on CD. Or German. Or Norwegian. Or any exotic language out there. Having the long calls of the day, while using hands-free, might also seem a good idea. Either way, when you know you have 277 hours spent in traffic each year, you only now realize that time is money.