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Nations where office-goers face worst traffic

Last updated on: August 13, 2010 16:57 IST

Nations where office-goers face worst traffic

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Traffic jams are a major source of loss of precious time and fuel. It leads to irritation, pain and often road rage. But if it is any consolation, India does not top the list of nations that have the worst commute for workers. It ranks third.

Long-distance commuting is still the norm despite progress in flexible working practices with 20 per cent of commuters globally and 26 per cent in India travelling over 90 minutes everyday, a survey revealed.

Although in India the average commuting length is 29 minutes, 12 per cent of commuters travel more than an hour to and from the place of work, according to a survey by Regus, a global workplace solutions provider.

In India on average 6 per cent of respondents drive to work in a car while 15 per cent use motorcycles. Taxis/autorickshaws were used by 9 per cent of the respondents.

The least popular mode of transport in India is cycling with less than one per cent preferring the eco-friendly mode of transport.

While on an average 7 per cent of commuters globally spend 10 per cent or more of their salary on commuting, in India the average spend is 4.1 per cent of annual salary.

Nevertheless, one in ten respondents (11 per cent) spend 10 per cent or over of their yearly take-home salary to fund their commute, while 16 per cent spend between 5-10 ten per cent.

Globally, cars are by far the most popular form of commuter transport (64 per cent).

Conducted in August and September of 2009, the research includes responses from 11,000 businesses in 13 countries.

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Image: Traffic in cities like Mumbai and New Delhi can be a nightmare.
Photographs: Reuters
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1. Japan
32% Japanese commute for over 90 minutes daily.

Japan is the world's third-largest economy by GDP and purchasing power parity. Apart from being a G8 member, the nation is also one of the world's biggest exporters and importers.

Japan has spent hugely on its road network that spans over 1.2 million kilometers of paved roads. It has an excellent road system and yet in its highly urbanized areas, traffic congestion is a major problem.

Despite its impressive physical infrastructure, almost every third Japanese commutes for more than 90 minutes everyday.

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Image: Traffic on a road in Tokyo.
Photographs: Reuters
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2. China
In China, 31% workers commute for over 90 minutes.

China, the world's fastest growing economy and one that boasts of superlative infrastructure, has an excellent road network.

However, it is also the world's largest automobile was becoming market, and travelling by car is fast becoming the most common form of commute.

The world's second largest economy is now debating how to improve its already outstanding public transportation system so that the average daily commute time drops significantly.

Almost 31 per cent Chinese commute for over 90 minutes everyday.

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Image: Heavy traffic on a road in Beijing.
Photographs: Reuters
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4. South Africa
22 South Africans are stuck in traffic for over 90 minutes every day.

South Africa has an interesting economy: one part of the nation is highly developed with infrastructure that rivals the world's best, and the other part is where the fruits of growth have barely reached.

However, amongst all African nations, South Africa has the best transportation infrastructure

The country is said to have around 450,000 km of highways. However, for the average South African, the being caught in traffic is almost routine.

Twenty-two per cent South Africans spend at least 90 minutes everyday travelling to work.

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Image: Johannesburg.
Photographs: Reuters
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5. Mexico
22 per cent workers in Mexico too commute over 90 minutes daily.

The economy of Mexico is the 11th largest in the world. The country is well known for the quality of its car industry.

The roadway network in Mexico, the world's 11th largest economy, is amongst the most extensive and the best. Yet, like Johannesburg, almost every fifth Mexican spends more than 90 minutes commuting to and fro to his workace.

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Image: Mexico.

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6. The United Kingdom
21% British commute for over 90 minutes every day.

The United Kingdom has a free market economy, with London being the world's premier financial centre.

According to Wikipedia, the UK has a road network of 46,904 kilometres of main roads with a motorway network of 3,497 kilometres. There are a further 213,750 kilometres of paved roads.

Although it has a fine infrastructure and roadways system, England still sees that almost 21 per cent of its citizens spend over an hour and a half commuting every day.

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Image: In London too, traffic is a pain.
Photographs: Reuters
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7. France
Almost 21 per cent French commute for more than 90 minutes daily.

France, the fifth largest economy in the world, is a member of G8. It is Europe's second largest economy after Germany.

The French have 1,027,183 kilometres of serviceable roadways, says Wikipedia. This makes it the most extensive network in Europe.

The country's roads connect all parts of France with each other, and also a lot of international traffic, connecting with cities in Belgium, Spain, Switzerland, Germany, Italy, etc.

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Image: The Eiffel Tower in Paris.
Photographs: Reuters
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8. Australia
About 18 per cent Australians commute for over 90 minutes. Daily.

Australia has a free market economy, and is the world's 13th largest. It has high per capita income. Australia was recently ranked first in Legatum's 2008 Prosperity Index and second in the United Nations 2009 Human Development Index.

The country has a huge population of cars. Wikipedia says that the road network in Australia comprises a total of 913,000 km.

The rising number of cars in the fast growing urban centres and the inability of even the country's impressive infrastructure leads to 18 per cent of Australians spending more than 90 minutes a day commuting to and fro their work place.

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Image: Traffic in Melbourne.
Photographs: Reuters
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9. Germany
16 per cent German workers commute for over an hour and a half every day.

Germany has a superb transportation infrastructure. Its famous autobahn network has areas where there is no speed limit. It has an excellent road network of about 650,000 km.

The national roads in Germany, says Wikipedia, are called Bundesstraben (federal road).

Yet, almost 16 per cent Germans spend more than a hour and a half in their daily commute.

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Image: Even Germany's famous autobahns get choked.
Photographs: Reuters
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10. Spain
12 per cent Spaniards commute for more than 90 minutes daily.

Spain, like most other advanced European nations, has a wide network of roads. The country's notable highway system makes commuting in Spain a fairly enjoyable experience.

However, in the dense urban areas even this road network is unable to handle the ever-increasing number of cars: the result -- almost 12 per cent Spaniards spend 90 minutes a day commuting.

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Image: Despite its impressive road network, Spanish cities suffer traffic jams.
Photographs: Reuters
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11. The United States
About 11 per cent American workers commute for more than an hour and a half daily.

The United States, the world's largest economy and one of the world's richest nations on a per capita income basis, has possibly the best infrastructure in the world.

The nation has the world's largest expressway system and excellent roads. 'America has good roads not because America is rich, but America is rich because it has good roads,' John F Kennedy had once famously said.

A study recently showed that Americans waste 4 billion hours and about 3 billion gallons of fuel each year because of traffic congestion.

The road network in the US makes commuting a pleasure, but despite that almost one in 10 Americans (11 per cent) spends more than 90 minutes daily while commuting.

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Image: A traffic jam in New York.
Photographs: Reuters
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12. Canada
Only 8 per cent Canadian workers need to commute for over 90 minutes a day.

Canada, with a road network of over 1,400,000 km, is a developed country with excellent infrastructure. It is the world's 10th largest economy and one of the wealthiest nations on earth.

Only about 8 per cent Canadians spend more than 90 minutes a day commuting to and fro their work place.


Image: Canada.
Photographs: Reuters
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