EDMONTON – It may come as a surprise to many Edmonton drivers, but a new study suggests traffic congestion in the city isn’t nearly as bad as other Canadian cities.
Vancouver tops the list as the country’s most congested city, according to navigation and mapping company TomTom.
The company published its annual global traffic index on Tuesday, which takes into account both local roads and highways.
It found that in Vancouver, the average person experiences 87 hours of delay time a year, based on a 30-minute daily commute.
In Edmonton, the average person experiences 57 hours of delay time a year, based on the same 30-minute daily commute.
Drivers who spoke to Global News seemed resigned to the fact traffic can be congested, especially during the busy summer construction season.
“It’s always like this,” said one. “I’ve been here so long I’ve just gotten used to it.”
“A little bit frustrating,” added another, “but I mean, I guess this is the way it is every summer, no?”
“It sucks,” said a third driver, “plain and simple. I think the whole construction of this city is horrible.”
Matthew Hillman with the Street Eats food truck says traffic congestion has increased over the years. He feels the problem boils down to a lack of new construction coupled with growth in population. Hillman notes congestion is especially bad around construction areas in downtown Edmonton.
“Yesterday we were driving home and were stuck in traffic for, I don’t know, 30, 45 minutes, just because. There was no accident, no reason, just coming out of downtown, it was really bad,” he said.
“I’ve seen worse, I’ve definitely seen worse, but there’s no doubting it’s a lot worse than it has been.”
“Parking is the biggest issue,” Hillman added. “When you actually can park, the traffic is not very friendly about it. Especially when you’re this big, people just don’t care. They cut people off, stop on a dime, all that kind of stuff.”
Edmonton is 18th out of 63 North American cities listed in the report.
According to TomTom, the worst day for congestion in Edmonton in 2013 was November 19. Edmonton was hit with up to 15 centimetres of snow that day.
The top seven most congested cities in Canada, as ranked by overall congestion level in 2013:
The report also revealed that the traffic shortcuts drivers take to avoid congestion actually add 50 per cent more travel time to journeys.
Their date suggests traffic congestion on secondary roads is worse than main roads, and commuters around the world are spending an average of eight working days a year stuck in traffic.
“Traffic congestion is nothing new, and continues to be a global challenge,” says said Harold Goddijn, CEO of TomTom. “The traditional responses to congestion, such as building new roads or widening existing ones are no longer proving to be effective.”
BELOW: A look at traffic congestion statistics from across Canada
To see the traffic index reports, go to www.tomtom.com/trafficindex
With files from Melissa Ramsay
© Shaw Media, 2014