Toronto, Montreal in top 20 of IBM’s Commuter Pain Index

Toronto and Montreal made the top 20 in a global list of cities with the worst commutes to work, with gridlock stress among Toronto commuters up by more than 25 percent since last year.

Mexico City came out on top in IBM’s Commuter Pain Index, whichranks the emotional and economic toll of commuting in 20 internationalcities. Shenzhen and Beijing tied for second place, followed byNairobi, Johannesburg, Bangalore, New Delhi, Moscow, Milan, Singapore,Buenos Aires, Los Angeles, Paris, Madrid, New York City, Toronto,Stockholm, Chicago, London and Montreal.

IBM found that use of public transportation is up in anumber of cities compared with its traffic survey from last year, andan increasing number of respondents said roadway traffic has improvedeither “somewhat” or “substantially” in the past three years. Thebiggest movements to public transit are in emerging cities such asNairobi, Mexico City, Shenzhen, Buenos Aires and Beijing, IBM reports.Among Nairobi residents, 70% said they’re taking public transit moreoften in the last year for their daily commute.

On the downside, IBM logged big increases in the number of people whosaid roadway traffic has increased their stress levels, upped theiranger, and negatively affected their performance at work or school. Forexample, 86 per cent of the respondents in Beijing, 87 per cent in Shenzhen, 70 per cent in NewDelhi and 61 per cent in Nairobi report traffic as a key inhibitor to work orschool performance.

Globally, 42 per cent of respondents reported increased stress, and 35 per centreported increased anger. Some of the biggest increases intraffic-related stress showed up in New York (45 per cent in 2011 vs. 13 per cent in2010), Los Angeles (44 per cent vs. 21 per cent), Toronto (40 per cent vs. 14 per cent), London (33 per centvs. 19 per cent), Milan (61 per cent vs. 38 per cent) and Johannesburg (52 per cent vs. 30 per cent).

On the subject of road rage, 11 of 15 cities surveyed in both 2010 and2011 reported year-over-year increases. In New York, for example, 35 per centsaid roadway traffic made them angry in 2011 compared to 14 per cent in 2010.Los Angeles (29 per cent vs. 14 per cent) and Toronto (29 per cent vs. 14 per cent) also reportedsignificant increases in traffic-related anger.

When asked what they would do if they could recoup their time spent commuting, more thanhalf of respondents (56 per cent) said they would spend the time with familyand friends; 48 per cent would exercise; 40 per cent would spend more time onrecreation; and 29 per cent would sleep more.

IBM’s Commuter Pain Index takes into account 10 factors: commutingtime, time stuck in traffic, high gas prices, worsening traffic,start-stop traffic, stress caused by driving, anger caused by driving,the effect of traffic on work, traffic so bad driving stopped, and thefrequency of drivers deciding not to make a trip due totraffic.

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