Sitting in traffic eats 6% of Sydney residents’ salaries

By @vitthernandez on
Sydney Traffic
Heavy traffic drives towards Sydney's central business district during the morning rush hour September 30, 2008. Reuters/Daniel Munoz

While Sydney’s streets are becoming safer for pedestrians with the installation of ground-level traffic lights at key intersections, for motorists, congestion is a major concern. A study by Global Positioning Specialists (GPS) ranks Sydney in 17th place out of 108 cities around the world for hours spent driving to work.

The fleet management company also computed for equivalent salaries lost by sitting in traffic. For Sydney residents, lost earnings were estimated at US$3,308 ($4,500) or almost six percent of their average-after-tax wages, reports The Sydney Morning Herald. It is equivalent to three working weeks lost to congestion.

Four other Australian cities are on the list. Melbourne was ranked 44th, while income lost at almost 4 percent or US$2,158 ($2,935). It was 3.8 percent loss or US$1,950 ($2,652)  for 49th placer Brisbane, 3.6 percent or US$1,910 ($2,597) for 55th placer Perth and 2.6 percent or US$1,344 ($1,828) for Adelaide in 78th place.

GPS based the figures by comparing it with data from Tom Tom, a global positioning system manufacturer, which has a global congestion index, and data from Numbeo, a cost of living website.

However, Australians are still in a better place when compared to the morning travel of Mexico City residents who spend almost 4.9 weeks annually sitting in gridlocked streets. The income lost because of traffic is almost 9.7 percent or US$1,044.

The nine other cities in the top 10 list are: Bangkok (8.9 percent, US$1,034), Recife (8.5 percent, US$653), Moscow (8.3 percent, US$1,086), Rio de Janeiro (7.7 percent, US$867), Istanbul (7.6 percent, US$922), Salvador (7.4 percent, US$445), Shanghai (7.4 percent, US$1,650), Rome (7.1 percent, US$663) and Bucharest (7 percent, US$2,055).

Tom Tom has a different Congestion Level list which indicates extra travel time. The list is almost similar to GPS’s, except for the exclusion of Rome and Shanghai, replaced by Chengdu and Los Angeles. There is also a change in rankings as follows: Mexico City (59 percent), Bangkok (57 percent), Istanbul (50 percent), Rio de Janeiro (47 percent), Moscow (44 percent), Bucharest (43 percent), Salvador (43 percent), Recife (43 percent), Chengdu 41 percent) and LA (41 percent).

Beijing, which showed a slight improvement by one percent, is in 14th place with 38 percent. Manila is apparently excluded in its list since the Philippines was not on Tom Tom’s country list.

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