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Driving

Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal rank as the most congested cities in Canada

Congestion rates drop in nation's three biggest cities

Toronto - TomTom (TOM2) released the results of the TomTom Traffic Index 2016, an annual report detailing the cities around the world with the most traffic congestion. The report, released every year to help drivers, cities and transport planners understand traffic congestion, highlights trends and ways to improve congestion globally. The TomTom Traffic Index looks at the traffic congestion in 295 cities in 38 countries, and is based on 14 trillion data points that have been accumulated over eight years.

The new report shows a change in the historical trend of increasing congestion in Canada with a drop noted in 11 of the 12 Canadian cities listed in the index. This means that the average amount of time drivers wasted sitting in traffic* declined over the last index. In Toronto, the average driver saved 11 hours not sitting in traffic congestion. For Vancouver, nearly four hours were saved, and in Montreal - almost half an hour.

This traffic congestion decrease marks the first drop in Vancouver since 2010 and the first drop in Toronto and Montreal since 2012. TomTom experts attribute the improved congestion rates across the country to new government-led traffic management policies and investments in infrastructure.

Despite the improved rates, commuters in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal can expect to spend nearly 30 per cent extra time traveling due to congestion, which amounts to an average of 126 hours* of extra travel time per year – slightly more than five full days. The next most congested cities in Canada are Ottawa (26 per cent), Halifax (26 per cent) and Winnipeg (22 per cent).

The TomTom Traffic Index – now in its fifth year of public release –breaks down not only the best and worst times to hit the road but also which days are the most traffic-clogged – a great benefit for motorists looking to travel faster.

"We really want everybody to think about how they can lower the amount of time they waste in traffic every day – and to realize that we all need to play a part," said Ralf-Peter Schaefer, vice president of TomTom Traffic.

"We can help businesses plan smarter working hours to help their employees avoid traveling during rush hour. And we give drivers the real-time traffic information and smart routing they need to avoid congested roads and get to where they want to be, faster," Schaefer said.

TomTom, based in Amsterdam, has worked with travel planners worldwide, offering the traffic data to help enhance mobility plans, smart city strategies and public transit and infrastructure.

The information, gathered in part from navigational devices, also can be used by motorists at peak traffic periods to consider different departure times to avoid hang ups or to use other means of travel.

"Dare to follow a new route suggested by your navigation system," Schaefer said. "Consider other modes of travel – maybe the fastest way to get to work is by bike, on public transport, or even by foot."

Additional highlights of the 2016 TomTom Traffic Index for Canada:

• Average overall congestion in Canada for the major cities is 25 per cent, with a decrease in congestion from 27 per cent over the last index

• Congestion rates in 11 of the 12 Canadian cities listed in the index have improved with an overall decrease in congestion. Vancouver's congestion rate has decreased by one per cent, Toronto's by three per cent, and Montreal's by one per cent. Most notably, Winnipeg, listed as the sixth most congested city in Canada has a decreased congestion rate of four per cent. Calgary's traffic congestion rate has dropped by three per cent.

• Based on populations of above 800,000, the most congested cities in Canada continue to be Vancouver and Toronto with the least congested city in Canada being Calgary

• The average evening rush hour congestion rate in Canada is 47 per cent, down 10 per cent from the last index where a 57 per cent congestion rate was measured

• Despite improved congestion rates, the average Canadian is reported to lose nearly 99 hours stuck in traffic

• Thursday evening is the most congested evening commute based on the 12 Canadian cities in the index. Exceptions to this are found in Edmonton, Quebec, Calgary and Hamilton.

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