Sunday, 4 July 2010

Moscow Drivers Have Longest Commute

Moscow drivers suffer the longest traffic jams of major cities, making for a “grueling” atmosphere that inhibits commerce, IBM said in a report Thursday.

The average Muscovite motorist spent a “whopping” 2 1/2 hours stuck in traffic at least once in the last three years, IBM said in its first global study on the “emotional and economic toll of commuting.”

More than 40 percent of drivers in the Russian capital reported jams exceeding 3 hours, or three times the average for the 20 cities in the Commuter Pain report.

“The daily commute in some of the world’s most economically important international cities is longer and more grueling than before imagined, reflecting the failure of transportation infrastructure to keep pace with economic activity,” Armonk IBM said.

Public spending on transportation in Russia will fall to 1.9 percent of gross domestic product this year from the “already low level of” 2.5 percent in 2009, the World Bank said in a report published June 16. The quality of the country’s road infrastructure is ranked 111th in the world, according to the bank.

Half of the 8,192 motorists on five continents surveyed by IBM said gridlock has worsened in the last three years. Beijing and New Delhi showed the most improvement, while Johannesburg, Moscow and Toronto showed the least. Beijing and Moscow led the world with the most road trips canceled because of anticipated traffic jams.

Beijing won the title of most “onerous” commute overall, when factors such as traffic predictability, gasoline prices and emotional stress are included. Mexico City was second worst, followed by Johannesburg, Moscow and New Delhi. Stockholm, Melbourne and Houston have the “least painful commutes.”

More than half of the motorists polled, or 57 percent, said traffic stress has harmed their health, led by Mexico City and Sao Paolo, while drivers in Beijing and Moscow reported being the angriest.

New Yorkers reported less anxiety than drivers from any other city, with just 34 percent feeling “traffic stress” on a regular basis, followed by Houston, Melbourne and Toronto. “These are all cities with well-developed transportation systems,” IBM said in the report.

The global poll, conducted in April and May, has an overall margin of error of 2 percentage points. It follows similar surveys carried out in the United States in 2008 and 2009, IBM said.