Jeff Walker, vice-president of Public Affairs for CAA National, says that some bottlenecks can increase commute times by up to 50 percent.

Longer travel times? Check. Increased fuel consumption? Check. Seething anger and a feeling of complete helplessness? Double check. These are just some of the negative byproducts of traffic bottlenecks - something you've likely experienced at some point in time, if not daily - and a new study by the Canadian Automobile Association has identified the 20 worst offenders across Canada.

The study, titled "Grinding to a Halt, Evaluating Canada's Worst Bottlenecks," shows that Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver dominate the undesirable list, with Ontario's capital earning five of the top 10 spots, and 10 of the top 20. Montreal figures in five of the top 20, while Vancouver has four. Some of the most notable offenders are actually comparable to the worst roads in North America, not just Canada.

The worst bottleneck is in Toronto on Highway 401, between Highway 427 and Yonge St. It's a 15 kilometre stretch whose traffic causes three million hours in annual delays, $82M in delay costs, and if fixed, could save nearly 6M litres of fuel.

Bottlenecks creating massive delays in major Canadian cities: study
Bottlenecks creating massive delays in major Canadian cities: study

Montreal's Highway 40, between Blvd Pie-IX and Highway 520 places third on the list, and accounts for nearly 2M hours in delays. The worst bottleneck in Vancouver, meanwhile, and placing ninth on the list, is on Granville St., at SW Marine Dr. It's only a 1.2 km stretch, but it results in 149,000 hours of delays each year.

At the bottom end of the study are cities such as Halifax, Winnipeg, and Regina, which combined add an extra 3.1M hours to travel time due to bottlenecks. That's still a significant number, but not so much when you consider Toronto alone sees nearly 52M hours of travel time added.

Jeff Walker, vice-president of Public Affairs for CAA National, says that some bottlenecks can increase commute times by up to 50 percent. Often times, it feels like that number is an understatement.

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The study defines bottlenecks as "those stretches of highway that are routinely and consistently congested throughout the course of a weekday, as opposed to stretches that are congested only at limited times of day or days of a week." Speed and volume data was compiled by mapping data company Here, which is owned by several German car companies, including Audi, BMW, and Daimler.

The CAA isn't giving out these results just to depress drivers in high-traffic areas (though it is thoroughly depressing). It hopes that by shedding light on the issue of bottlenecks, improvements will be made, saving time and money, and lowering emissions. The association points to its annual "Worst Roads" initiative. It says "80 to 90 percent of all roads nominated in the campaign have been or are scheduled to be repaired."

Lead photo: Daniel Scott on Flickr

Source: The Canadian Automobile Association

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