Driven to distraction: Muscovites on roads to nowhere

A major IBM survey has found that Moscow is now the eighth-worst city in the world to be a driver – but things seem to be improving as the Russian capital was ranked 4th last year.

Of the major cities in the world, Mexico City claimed the dubious title of the world’s worst place to be a driver.

Moscow has been the worst city in Europe in terms of traffic delays for the last three years. Many of the respondents here report that they have to wait in traffic jams for over three hours.

Some 31 per cent of the respondents in Moscow say that the infrastructure is improving and that waiting times are decreasing, while it was only 16 per cent the year before.

However those stuck in traffic are still extremely stressed. The effects of waiting in traffic can be very damaging, including stress and respiratory problems. This is especially true in some big Asian cities due to the amount of the exhaust fumes in the air.

Drivers say that waiting in traffic jams affects their working lives as it makes them underachieve because they are so stressed or quite frequently simply late for work.

A Moscow group of activists calling themselves “No More Traffic Jams” say that the future for Moscow traffic is bleak as 6,000 new cars hit the road every month and the situation is only going to get worse.

“I’m using my moped now, but I don’t know what to do when the weather gets worse. We’ve got two cars in the family, but one stays in the garage all year,” says a Muscovite. “I suggest the authorities promote the use of mopeds instead of cars, at least for the summer months.”

Yandex Traffic, a search engine that has an application that helps drivers to avoid traffic, says that problems are more seasonal. In summer, when people leave the big cities to go on holiday, the situation gets better.

Another interesting discovery made by the survey is that a lot more people are taking public transport instead of taking their cars, because they have got so frustrated by the situation, though only 41 per cent of those who took the survey believe that this can really change the traffic situation for the better.

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