Thais spend highest average hours in peak congestion: Survey

Thais spend highest average hours in peak congestion: Survey
Morning traffic jam in Bangkok, Thailand.
PHOTO: The Straits Times

Drivers in Thailand have it worst with road congestion, according to a new survey on traffic conditions across 38 countries worldwide.

Thailand leads with the highest average hours spent in peak congestion (61 hours) last year, ahead of Colombia and Indonesia (47 hours).

The Global Traffic Scorecard survey, conducted by US-based transportation analytics firm Inrix, also showed Los Angeles topping the list of the world's most gridlocked cities.

Drivers there spent 104 hours last year in traffic jams during peak congestion periods.

Five of the top 10 traffic-congested cities in the world were also in the US.

The survey showed that drivers in Singapore spent an average of 10.5 hours stuck in congestion last year.

The Thai capital, meanwhile, ranked 12th overall among the most congested cities in the world, with drivers spending an average of 64.1 hours stuck in traffic last year.

Traffic apparently worsened in the city, which was ranked 30th in 2015.

Experts blame private cars for congesting Bangkok's roads, especially after sales spiked in 2011 following the introduction of tax breaks for first-time buyers by the government under then Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.

According to statistics, new car sales in 2011 totalled three million.

But car sales have been steadily declining in the last four years due to weaker demand, totalling 2.69 million last year.

TAX INCENTIVE

The auto industry expects to see a spike in sales this year as the government's five-year tax incentive scheme ends, allowing car owners to sell their old cars and buy new ones.

Aside from the volume of vehicles, accidents, floods as well as the bad driving habits of the Thais have been cited previously by traffic officials as causes for street jams.

Elsewhere in Asia, Jakarta was also among the cities with the worst traffic congestion, ranking 22nd in the survey.

Inrix, however, did not include other cities notorious for traffic jams such as Manila, Mumbai and Saigon.

This article by The Straits Times was published in The New Paper, a free newspaper published by Singapore Press Holdings.

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