While our largest cities may seem hor­ri­ble for traf­fic, a re­cent study finds that, on a world scale, they could be much worse

Edmonton Sun - Autonet - - NEWS - DerekMc­naughton Driv­ing.ca

Ask any­one who drives in Van­cou­ver, Mon­treal or Toronto to de­scribe the ex­pe­ri­ence and “crip­pled” comes up as a fit­ting ad­jec­tive. No won­der some peo­ple want au­ton­o­mous cars; driv­ing in crowded cities can be a mad­den­ing monotony of mi­nus­cule move­ments, a task bet­ter left to com­put­ers than our big, cre­ative brains.

But not all big cities suck at deal­ing with traf­fic and the mo­bil­ity of their cit­i­zens. Some are sur­pris­ingly good at get­ting peo­ple around. In Europe, on­line re­tailer kfzteile24, one of the largest Ger­man on­line shops for car parts and ac­ces­sories, ex­am­ined 500 cities around the globe, cir­cling those with the high­est num­ber of reg­is­tered ve­hi­cles in their ini­tial scope. Its goal was to find the 100 best (and thus worst) cities to drive in.

The sur­vey then whit­tled down the list to 100 cities based on which ones had the most avail­able traf­fic data, so the study is skewed to those ma­jor ur­ban cen­tres that tend to keep track of these things. For ex­am­ple, even though Cal­gary and Ed­mon­ton are roughly sim­i­lar, Ed­mon­ton doesn’t make the list but Cal­gary does. Don’t bother look­ing for a rank­ing for small cities such as Moose Jaw or Thun­der Bay, they sim­ply weren’t big enough.

Still, the kfzteile24 study pro­vides an in­ter­est­ing look at the five Cana­dian cities that made the list. It takes into ac­count nine pa­ram­e­ters. They in­clude: con­ges­tion lev­els based on data from TomTom, pub­lic trans­port op­tions, the cost of park­ing, cost of gaso­line and diesel, air pol­lu­tion, the av­er­age speed be­tween the city cen­tre and the in­ter­na­tional air­port, road fa­tal­i­ties, road qual­ity and road rage. From those data points, it dis­tilled them to come up with its ranked list of 100 best and worst. Glob­ally, Düs­sel­dorf, Ger­many ranked No. 1 while Kolkata, In­dia, ranked worst over­all and last at 100.

In Canada, only Cal­gary pre­sented well. Con­ges­tion caused by “tem­po­rary” con­struc­tion work was not taken into ac­count for the study, so Toronto and Mon­treal got a boost they don’t cur­rently de­serve. Still, of the five Cana­dian cities, all fall within the top 50 in the study, the low­est-ranked Van­cou­ver scored 48 out of 100. Put an­other way, Van­cou­ver ranks as the worst place to drive in Canada among its big­gest cities but mid­dle of the pack com­pared with the rest of the world, ac­cord­ing to kfzteile24. That’s fol­lowed by Ot­tawa as the next worst, Toronto in third place, Mon­treal at sec­ond and fi­nally, Cal­gary, as the best Cana­dian city in which to drive.

Here’s a break­down of how each Cana­dian city fared, from best to worst.

1. Cal­gary. Rank 10/100

Cal­gary’s con­ges­tion was ranked among the low­est of Cana­dian cities, with a score of 20 out of 100, only one point be­hind the top three cities in world. It also scored the clean­est air. Cal­gary might have done bet­ter over­all were it not for its ex­pen­sive down­town park­ing, where the Al­berta city ranked more ex­pen­sive than Lon­don, Eng­land, but bet­ter than the most costly place to park, New York City. Cal­gary also ranked rel­a­tively badly on the road rage scale, also knock­ing it back. Road rage was based on the re­sults of a poll con­ducted in each of the cities that asked more than 1,000 driv­ers to rate their per­cep­tion of road rage, com­bined with the num­ber of re­ported in­ci­dents in the past 12 months. Still, Cal­gary’s fi­nal score put it in the top 10 best cities in the world when it comes to mo­tor­ing.

2. Mon­treal. Rank: 13/100

Driv­ers in Mon­treal, long frus­trated with the night­mare that is the Cham­plain Bridge, the war zone known as High­way 720 or the grid­lock known as route 40 or 15 will be stunned to see it ranked as the sec­ond-best ma­jor city in Canada to drive. De­spite a ter­mi­nal case of con­struc­tion, Mon­treal’s rank­ing in the kfzteile24 study comes, in part, from its very good score at min­i­miz­ing road rage, but also for its Métro sub­way and tran­sit sys­tem, which helps take a lot of cars off the road.

3. Toronto Rank: 14/100

A de­cent sub­way and pub­lic tran­sit sys­tem, com­par­a­tively low price of fuel (dur­ing the study pe­riod in Au­gust when gas was cheap­est its been in years), mod­est down­town park­ing costs and fairly quick speed to Toronto Pear­son In­ter- na­tional Air­port all helped the city achieve its third-best Cana­dian city rank, de­spite its prob­lems on the 401, 400, Don Val­ley Park­way and Gar­diner Ex­press­way and nu­mer­ous other main ar­ter­ies. Road qual­ity was slightly bet­ter than av­er­age at 31/100, ac­cord­ing to the study, al­though the count­less mo­torists who have re­placed tires and sus­pen­sion bits be­cause of Toronto’s roads will no doubt dis­agree.

4. Ot­tawa Rank: 22/100

Any­one who reg­u­larly drives in Toronto and Ot­tawa will hap­pily choose Ot­tawa traf­fic over Toronto’s; but Canada’s cap­i­tal still lacks a sub­way sys­tem, though an LRT route is un­der con­struc­tion and ex­pan­sion plans are in the works. In­deed, Ot­tawa ranked bet­ter than Mon­treal and Toronto on the con­ges­tion score and park­ing costs, but had poorer qual­ity roads than Toronto.

5. Van­cou­ver Rank: 48/100

For reg­u­lar com­muters along High­way 1, Van­cou­ver’s last-place rank in Canada will be no sur­prise. Worse than Lon­don, Eng­land, Van­cou­ver’s rating comes from its high con­ges­tion, partly the re­sult of a lack of ma­jor north-south or east-west ar­ter­ies but also be­cause of the sheer vol­ume. It’s also hurt by the usu­ally slow crawl to the air­port, but helped by its low pol­lu­tion com­pared to other ma­jor cities. Van­cou­ver ranked fourth over­all be­hind Cal­gary and Ot­tawa as having the least air pol­lu­tion.

Ryan McLeod/ Post­media Net­work

Traf­fic on the Deer­foot Trail (Hwy 2) near 32 Av­enue in Cal­gary, Alta., on May 26, 2017.


Traf­fic con­ges­tion on Bur­rard St. North of Nel­son dur­ing the af­ter­noon rush hour, Van­cou­ver, July 10 2012.

Ernest Doroszuk/ Toronto Sun

Traf­fic along King St.W.,at Sim­coe St.in down­townToronto,Ont.onThurs­day Jan­uary 26, 2017.

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