The 2016 Inrix Global Traffic Scorecard ranked 1,064 cities across 38 countries in terms of overall traffic congestion.
Montreal is home to the top Canadian team in the NHL right now, is a burgeoning video game development hub, and has arguably the world's most delicious poutine, but the city is now known for a far less desired claim to fame - it's the highest-ranked Canadian city on a new global traffic study. And when it comes to this scorecard, you actually want to be ranked as low as possible.
The 2016 Inrix Global Traffic Scorecard ranked 1,064 cities across 38 countries in terms of overall traffic congestion. The rankings were based on how many hours drivers spent in traffic during peak hours each year. In Montreal, commuters spent 52 hours in congestion, which was good for 27th overall. That sounds bad - and it is - but not compared to Los Angeles, which placed first overall on the scoreboard. Drivers in that city spent double the amount of time in traffic - 104.1 to be exact - compared to Montrealers.
While it's not surprising to see Toronto in second place (45.6 hours, 53rd overall) for Canadian cities, third place may turn a few heads - drivers in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, spent 31.8 hours in traffic in 2016. That placed the city in 144th overall in the world in terms of traffic congestion.
Rounding out the top 10 for Canadian cities was Ottawa (150th), Vancouver (157th), Quebec (165th), Victoria (347th), Edmonton (447th), Hamilton (465th), and Calgary (481st). Overall, Canada was tied with Luxembourgh for the 14th-most congested country in the world. Thailand took the dubious honour of having the most congested country on the planet.
The Inrix study is teeming with interesting facts and figures (a link to the scorecard is below). Torontonians, for example, spent an average of 12 percent of their time in driving congestion in 2016. Inrix is based in the U.S. so there are a lot of breakdowns for the Americans, but there's still plenty of info on Canada and other large countries. One particular stat shows how much money, in real-world dollars, is lost to gridlock It's eye-opening to say the least to see how much it costs individual drivers to be stuck in so much traffic.
Of course, the purpose of the study isn't just to depress commuters. Inrix delved into how to fix these significant traffic issues around the world. Although they reference things like optimizing traffic lights and efficient road work planning, we know there will be a lot of people who will say we simply need less vehicles on roads.
As Inrix says, "there is no silver bullet, no magic pill that will erase congestion." We're certain this will be an ongoing debate for years, as things like autonomous cars become more prevalent. We'd love to hear where you sit on this debate, in the comments section below.