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Europe’s most congested cities

In 2022, traffic congestion reached or exceeded pre-COVID levels in 42% of the urban areas in Europe, according to a report from a transport research company, INRIX. The analysis of 593 urban areas in Europe showed that London, Paris and Palermo top the Impact Ranking as the most congested cities.

A typical driver in the three cities lost 156, 138 and 121 hours during the year in traffic delays respectively. The Impact Ranking is the “aggregate influence of congestion relative to population.”

Map showing the top 25 most congested European cities in 2022 with a number indicating the total number of hours lost in traffic delays for a typical driver. The top 15 cities are shown on the map, while the remaining 10 are shown as a list.

The streets in the downtown area of the Italian city, Palermo –the third most congested city in Europe– are known for their heavy traffic congestion. The drivers in Palermo spent the equivalent of five days stuck in traffic last year. Rome was the most congested city in Europe, before the pandemic. Since then, it has dropped to fifth place.

Countries around the world have been easing COVID-19 restrictions. However, “telecommuting (working from home) has continued to remain relatively strong”.

The report showed that “In the UK, between February and May 2022, the percentage of employees with hybrid work schedules increased while the percentage working only from home decreased. As a result, trips to employment centres generally increased to downtown/city centres since their COVID-19 lows.”

Among the top 25 urban areas, traffic congestion exceeded pre-COVID levels in seven of them.

Method and data

Total time lost is the difference in travel times experienced during the peak periods compared to free-flow conditions on a per-driver basis. The data can be found here.

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