It ranks 38th among 146 cities in global index of road congestion
S'pore traffic worse than NY but better than London Morning rush-hour traffic on the PIE. The global index measured congestion during peak hours. -- ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

Singapore has been ranked 38th out of 146 cities in a global list that it does not aspire to top.

A global index measuring which cities have the worst traffic congestion during peak hours found that Singapore was better for drivers than Taipei, London and Sydney.

But it fared worse than New York, Melbourne and Copenhagen.

The index, consolidated by Dutch-based navigation company TomTom, calculated congestion based on how much longer drivers spend on their commute when faced with congestion.

In Singapore, drivers on average spend about 33 per cent more time on the road during the peak hours, compared to non-peak hours.

During the morning and evening rush hours on weekdays, commute times can increase by as much as 56 per cent and 78 per cent respectively.

Topping the list is Istanbul in Turkey with an average congestion level of 58 per cent, followed by Mexico City, 55 per cent, and Rio de Janeiro in Brazil at 51 per cent.

TomTom used anonymous travel data collected from in-vehicle navigation devices to come up with the index.

A total of 218 cities were surveyed, but only those with a population size larger than 800,000 were ranked. Many Asian cities, including Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok and Jakarta, were not included in the survey.

This is also the first time that Singapore has been included in the annual index, which started in 2008, because Singapore now has the critical mass of users, said TomTom.

In Singapore, close to 2.8 million kilometres worth of data was analysed.

TomTom's commercial director for South-east Asia, Mr Simon Barker, said he expected Singapore to do better in the ranking given that it has a well-developed road infrastructure and public transport system, and Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) to manage congestion.

But he explained: "We have a high incidence of roadworks, property developments, road upgrading, cabling works and construction, such as for new MRT lines."

And in a small geography such as Singapore's, congestion cannot be avoided, he added.

There are about 10,000 instances of roadworks done every year here. This is up from 8,000 a decade ago.

Shipping executive Josh Tan, 35, spends as much as an additional half-hour during weekday evenings on the Central Expressway when he drives from his office in Shenton Way to his home in Novena after 6pm.

The trip takes him 15 minutes in clear traffic.

"But to be honest, I don't think it's that bad. Local drivers don't know how good we've got it till they see the traffic in places like Manila, Jakarta or Bangkok," Mr Tan added.