I would call Hanoi congested because of all the motorbikes parked on the sidewalks - last week I walked as much in the street (at great peril) as on so called sidewalks. And there are only 150 000 cars, a few thousand buses, and well over 1 MILLION two-wheelers!
To leave Jakarta from a meeting..on congestion pricing - a bunch of us were given a police escort. I got to ride shotgun in the police car itself (no they were kicking us out..the police escort didnt help much; Jakarta has pay tollways as well as free surface streets, and while the pay tollways are crowded they are much faster than the parallel streets that are free..
Bangalore? Bangkok? Calcutta? Delhi? All bad.
It really depends what you mean by congestion. In cars/lane-km of street? In cars/sq km of city? Where do we count motorbikes? In lost time compared with travel time at freeflow? That's unfair because there really is no such thing as free flow except at 2 AM...
The best emblem of all of this - the CICI bank in Pune with a card table set up in front and a sign offering low cost loans for two wheelers - even though the streets themselves have no real sidewalks...why is there lots of private money for private transport but not even money to p rovide the public infrastructure for private transport but neither money for cost effective, clean public transport nor the will to charge people for using the public infrastructure.
>>> eric.britton@... 12/24/2006 9:00 AM >>>
World's Most Congested Cities
In Pictures: World's
Having the worst traffic can mean the worst accidents, worst pollution, worst
crowding, worst commutes and a host of other ugly conditions and experiences.
The list of the worst world cities for traffic is skewed by the growing impact
of transportation revolutions in developing countries. It takes time to build a
road infrastructure. It takes time to install and maintain a traffic system.
Traffic lights have to be coordinated and their power source has to have
redundancy. It takes time to train and educate drivers.
The list of the world's most congested cities centers on many Asian and a few
African and Latin American cities that for the most part are playing catch up or
trying to. For the moment, at least, their growth is defeating them. Moreover,
"traffic is only one of the side effects of growth," says Roy Barnes, the author
and former Georgia governor, who had to contend with his own problems of
congestion and growth.
The inner cities in developing countries normally don't have underground
transportation, and that means street traffic, and that means congestion. Even
the presence of a new subway as in Cairo has not really relieved the pressure of
ever more vehicles on Cairo's roads.
Cities with the highest density of population per square kilometer are the
logical candidates for becoming the most congested, because congestion increases
as the growth in their wealth increases the number of cars versus the less
expensive alternatives of bicycles, motor scooters or motorcycles. Cars take up
more room whether they are in motion or when parked--if they can be parked. U.S.
and European cities have often chosen to place garages in new buildings, while
older non-industrialized cities often lack such amenities. Cars may therefore be
parked everywhere, legally or illegally.
The cities with the highest level of population congestion are:
* Manila, the Philippines;
* Cairo, Egypt;
* Lagos, Nigeria;
* Macau, off the Chinese coast;
* Seoul, South Korea;
* Dhaka, Bangladesh;
* Buenos Aires, Argentina;
* Jakarta, Indonesia;
* Kaohsiung, Taiwan; and Santo Domingo,
* the Dominican Republic.
To drive a car in any of them might be the ultimate challenge.
Well over 50 million cars are being manufactured in the world each year, and
they have to go someplace. There are over 240 million vehicles in the U.S.
alone, while the world estimate is over 750 million vehicles and counting. The
tilt is toward more vehicles for those places least able to cope with them. It
is estimated that by 2030 the number of vehicles in the world will double.
These cities have priorities, but the priorities rarely include building new
roads or repairing old roads. The investment that's required also includes
elements that go far beyond digging, filling and paving. There is a political
nightmare that involves the need for land to build the road and a buy-in from
the government, local despots and citizens. Making a better commute can get lost
in the shuffle of appeasing or greasing each of these individuals or groups.
The last word is from an expert musing over Los Angles--a candidate for
congestion if there ever was one. "If they'd lower the taxes and get rid of the
smog and clean up the traffic mess, I really believe I'd settle here until the
next earthquake," said Groucho Marx.
Pictures: World's Most Crowded Cities
Pictures: India's Populace http://www.forbes.com/energy/2006/12/19/india-congested-cities-biz-energy-cx_rm_