5 worst international traffic jams and how to avoid them
15 Nov 2009 Jason 2
No one likes to get caught in a traffic jam, inching along the freeway, bumper to bumper, cursing the heat, the wasted time and fuel as well as the appointment you’re now going to be late for. And there’s not a thing you can do about it. Fortunately not many of us take it to the extreme Michael Douglas did in the movie Falling Down, which saw him abandoning his stranded vehicle and going on a murderous rampage through LA, but we might feel his frustration. If it makes you feel any better we’ve rounded up five of the worst traffic jam locations, and, more importantly, what you can do to minimize their impact on your commute.
There are degrees of traffic jams and some are just worse than others – much worse. In fact, some time ago Forbes reported on the DOT (Department of Transportation) rounding up the worst offenders and taking measures to alleviate what it describes as ‘alarming trends of congestion’, with the emphasis on implementing short-term solutions.
But it’s not just the U.S. that suffers from traffic chaos. Here is a roundup of pictures from the five worst cities for traffic jams (Sao Paulo is officially the worst with a queue that was 166 miles long, recorded in 2008).
#1 Sao Paulo, Brazil
#2 Jakarta, Indonesia
#3 Los Angeles, U.S.
#4 Tokyo, Japan
#5 New York City, U.S.
If there could be a number six it would probably be Bangkok in Thailand …
While it might be amusing or even comforting to know you’re not the only one suffering the 2mph crawl to work, the cost to society is very real. Conservative estimates by the DOT say the U.S. loses $168 billion yearly from highway congestion. The nation’s trucking system in 2004 lost 243,032,000 hours due to traffic delays, according to the Federal Highway Administration.
Beating traffic jams – the smart way
The DOT have listed measures to ease congestion in trouble spots that include timed ramp entries, congestion pricing (charging commuters during peak times), telecommuting and flex scheduling as well as improved transit services. The DOT also mentioned getting help from advanced technology and that’s where GPS fleet tracking and navigation systems come in.
And we’re not just referring to your garden-variety Garmin giving you turn-by-turn directions. We’re talking about route planning GPS software. Smart software that can feed your vehicle’s navigation system with real-time traffic and weather data, suggesting the fastest, and least congested, route.
Let’s not forget that by increasing the number of ‘smart’ drivers on the road who are taking less congested routes they are, at the same time, helping alleviate trouble spots where others drivers are getting caught in traffic traps.
Route planning takes standard GPS tracking and gives it a brain; helping drivers both personal and commercial make intelligent decisions. Commercial operators take routes that are optimized for their vehicle and their business, making them more courteous, safe and productive drivers, helping stem the economical drain of traffic jams. Personal drivers enjoy a less frustrating and more economical journey, arriving in a much better mood than the aforementioned Michael Douglas.
So let’s hope that the DOT follow through on encouraging greater use of route planning GPS systems to reduce congestion, and help make Americans, and the rest of the world, happier drivers.
And that’s better for all of us.
So how do you avoid traffic jams? Or, if you can’t avoid it, how do make good use of all that idle time?