Los Angeles gets a lot of grief, from both residents and outside observer, for being a perpetually gridlocked traffic nightmare. But L.A.'s traffic jams are actually a breezy pleasure cruise compared to some other cities around the world. Trace Dominguez has the details in today's Seeker Daily report.
Mexico City is generally considered to be the worst city on the planet, when it comes to traffic problems. According to data from the navigation service TomTom, Mexico City drivers are on the road an extra 219 hours per year, thanks to endless traffic jams. The two big problems are city planning and raw population. In the city's main commercial hub, just 7,000 housing units are occupied, while more than 850,000 people commute into the city each day.
Urban planners have a few prospective solutions in mind, including an elevated monorail with gondolas that would let commuters float over the congested freeways. The plan is still in very early development, but if all goes well, officials say the system could transport more than 200 million passengers per year.
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Indonesia's capital city, Jakarta, is another nightmare for commuters. The core problem here is that the city actually has no public transit system at all. Virtually everyone moving around in Jakarta is traveling by private vehicle. That's a problem, because three million extra people enter the city each day from outlying regions, essentially upping the population by one third during daytime hours.
Istanbul (not Constantinople) is another strong contender for worst traffic city in the world. Turkey's largest city is an extreme example of unchecked growth – in the later half of the 20th century, Istanbul's population increased more than tenfold. That kind of rapid growth is virtually impossible to keep up with, in terms of infrastructure. The majority of the city's 14 million residents must try to navigate streets that are literally ancient, and the public transit options are a mess.
Other cities with significant traffic issues include Bangkok, Moscow, Dhaka and Rio de Janeiro. The road congestion isn't just an inconvenience for commuters, either. Gridlocked traffic triggers a cascade of overlapping economic and public health crises for city officials.
-- Glenn McDonald
The Independent: Istanbul Revealed as the Most Congested City in the World
The New York Times: Gridlocked Jakarta Becomes Even Worse, at Least for a Week
The Guardian: Mexico City Chokes on its Congestion Problem
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