TomTom data used to compile list of Europe's most congested cities
27 April 2010

Brussels is Europe's most congested city, according to a new survey by sat-nav manufacturer TomTom.

Using speed data captured by its sat-navs, TomTom says drivers in Brussels face congestion on 37.7 per cent of its roads.

TomTom defines congestion as when drivers have to travel at 70 per cent or less of the speed limit, and only analysed date from cities with a population of 500,000 or more.

London was fourth in the poll, with congestion on 34.7 per cent of routes.

Edinburgh was fifth on 34.5 per cent.

Top ten most congested European cities

1 Brussels 2 Warsaw 3 Wroclaw 4 London 5 Edinburgh 6 Dublin 7 Belfast 8 Marseille 9 Paris 10= Luxembourg 10= Milan

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27 April 2010

Based on my experience actually Bucharest is Europe's most congested city. And you know what? I might be more accurate:

  • TomTom is only one of the many sat-nav manufacturers, albeit one with a large market share ("share" is the keyword here)
  • my feeling is that the percentage of drivers using sat-nav in Europe is far from 100% and certainly below the percentage in the US

Conclusion: you cannot draw a conclusion. It's just numbers. I bet sat-nav manufacturers release such data only to serve as free publicity, but do they ever think that it can easily become a negative one?

27 April 2010

Robert, such studies are always based on sampling. If you ever did statistics at school/university, you would know that you can make good assumptions about the population by testing a sample of it, given that the sample size is large enough, say 1000+. I'd venture that with TomTom's market share and the size of the cities involved, there are more than 1000 TomTom users in those cities.

So long as the sample size is big enough you can draw a conclusion, you cannot get meaningful data trying to measure ALL the traffic in a city and it's certainly likely to be more accurate than your gut feeling.

My experience of living and driving in Brussels for a year is that they have a lot of traffic due to quite frequent inner city shunts. Especially the large Montgomery roundabout, which would see shunts often several times a week. Why they crash though is beyond me.

27 April 2010

HArdly surprising that Edinburgh is in there, with all the damn tram works in the city centre. Once thats finsihed (supposed to be this year, now said to be next, more likely to be 2015!) it'll be out that list

27 April 2010

I just find it hard to imagine anywhere more congested and aggravating to drive around than central London over the last 10 years or so.

27 April 2010

[quote Jeezitsonlyacar]I just find it hard to imagine anywhere more congested and aggravating to drive around than central London over the last 10 years or so.[/quote] Typical reponse from anyone who lives in London. They don't realise there is a wider world out there! :p hehe I jest!

I used to live in Chelmsford, with frequent journeys to the centre of London. Edinburgh is bad, but it is no where near that bad! Haven't driven any where in Europe, so can't comment. In the UK I would have said it would go something like this

1. London

2. Birminghamd

3. Manchester

4. Glasgow

5. Edinburgh

what do you think?

27 April 2010

Having taught statistics, I think that Robert's conclusions are the more likely (in an intuitive rather than statitistical sense of course!) The most common way of manipulating facts with statistics is to start with a definition that suits yourself and then develop it using flawless mathematics. I don't know where Tom Tom got their definition from, but it would be just as valid to measure congestion by the percentage of time that traffic was stationary due to congestion, but then I doubt if a sat-nav could tell the difference between that and other reasons for being stationary. All conclusions derived from statistics should be taken with a pinch of salt, those from large companies with a considerably greater quantity.

27 April 2010

More to the point, what are Tom Tom doing by spying on their users. Surveillance by governments is primarily for security purposes and in theory if not in practice they are accountable to us, but for greedy companies to do the same, presumably without our knowledge or hidden in some legalise that most people couldn't find let alone understand, is totally unacceptable.

27 April 2010

sportwagon, I accept completely that statistics can be manipulated to prove a point, but exactly what motivation TomTom would have to structure their study to prove one place is more congested than another I don't really know - they'd presumably need a reason. As I stated earlier, I have lived in Brussels for a year and traffic was terrible. I drive to work in Central London and rarely encounter painful traffic (and I leave home around 8.15, so really at peak hour).
It's known that a number of satnav units communicate about road conditions with "HQ" - speeds and so on. Personally I think it is fine as long as it is based on anonymous data being sent and used for things like traffic avoidance and such. I always find it impressive when my satnav tells me about traffic en route and gives a rough estimate of the delay caused.

27 April 2010

You've got to ask why so many UK cities are on that list? And what's been done to reduce congestion in our cities? And you wonder why the country is in the sh*t....

BTW, TomToms are rubbish. Brother had one and was quite glad when it got nicked!

27 April 2010

I find these tomtom findings hard to believe. I live in Brussels and there is no way I would describe it as the most congested city in Europe. OK, there are always jams for commuters coming into the city from outside (and leaving in the evening) but it is still possible to drive around the city at most times during the week without too much congestion. I work about 4km from the city centre and I know that at lunchtime it is possible for me to drive into the city centre from work, find space in a car park quite easily and drive back with very little risk of being caught up in a traffic jam. I don't think there are many capital cities in which this could be done.


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