Ottawa, Ontario -- January 11, 2017 -- No matter where you live, there’s always at least one road or intersection that is a byword for traffic congestion. As of today, you can check to see if it ranks with the country’s worst. The Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) has just released a first of its kind study that examines traffic bottlenecks.
The study, Grinding to a Halt, Evaluating Canada's Worst Bottlenecks, has several interesting findings. First, Canada's top 20 most congested traffic bottlenecks cover just 65 kilometres in total, but they collectively cost drivers over 11.5 million hours and drain an extra 22 million litres of fuel per year.
"Traffic congestion is a major source of stress for Canadians. Our study concludes that traffic bottlenecks affect Canadians in every major urban market, increasing commute times by as much as 50 percent," said Jeff Walker, VP of Public Affairs for CAA National. "Reducing these bottlenecks will increase the quality of life for millions of Canadians, save millions in fuel costs and reduce greenhouse gases, helping contribute to Canada's climate change commitments."
The study collected and analyzed speed and volume data on highways in Canada's urban areas, provided by mapping and location technology company HERE. These bottlenecks were identified as those stretches of highway that are routinely and consistently congested throughout the course of a weekday, as opposed to stretches that are congested only at limited times of day or days of a week. CAA retained CPCS, a transportation management consulting firm based in Ottawa, to conduct the study's research and analysis.
Anyone who has dealt with Toronto’s traffic in recent years won’t be surprised to learn that 10 of the top 20 bottlenecks are located in that city. Montreal placed five, Vancouver placed four and Quebec City placed one. Other markets such as Calgary, Edmonton, Regina, Ottawa and Halifax also experience serious traffic delays.
The very worst highway bottleneck in the country, according to CAA’s study, is the stretch of Highway 401 that cuts across the north part of Toronto. This bottleneck alone costs commuters over 3 million hours of annual delays.
The stretch of Highway 40 into downtown Montreal is the third worst bottleneck in the country, costing commuters nearly 2 million hours of annual delays.
Compared with US bottlenecks using a similar methodology, Toronto and Montreal bottlenecks rank among the worst in North America.
Although the City of Vancouver does not have non-signalized highways serving the downtown core, stretches of two main arteries (Granville St. and West Georgia St.) are congested enough to fall within the top 10 bottlenecks - and produce the slowest driving speeds in the country.