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Where’s the World’s Most Painful Commute?
IBM's 2010 Global Commuter Pain Study rated Beijing's commute the world's most painful. Photo via poeloq.

IBM's 2010 Global Commuter Pain Study rated Beijing's commute the world's most painful. Photo via poeloq.

As we first reported in TheCityFix Picks, IBM recently released its first ever Commuter Pain Study. The study found that commuters in Beijing have the world’s most painful commute, and commuters in Stockholm, the least. Melbourne, Houston, and New York City also reported fairly painless commutes.

For the study, IBM surveyed 8,192 motorists in 20 of the world’s most “economically important international cities,” and created an Index to measure the painfulness of people’s daily commutes. The Index ranks “the emotional and economic toll of commuting in each city on a scale of one to 100, with 100 being the most onerous.”Cities like Beijing and Mexico City, which came in a close second for most painful commute, have booming middle classes buying cars at record rates. Beijing recently reached 2,100 new cars each day; the city’s transport infrastructure is stressed far beyond capacity. Cities like New York, Paris and London have had more time and resources to address their more gradually developing traffic problems, according to the IBM study.

Stockholm drivers reported the least painful commute. Probably not coincidentally, Stockholm instituted congestion pricing in 2006.

IBM's Commuter Pain Index measures the emotional and economic toll of commuting in each city, from one to 100; Beijing had the most painful commute, and Stockholm the least. Image via IBM.

IBM's Commuter Pain Index measures the emotional and economic toll of commuting in each city, from one to 100; Beijing had the most painful commute, and Stockholm the least. Image via IBM.

PEOPLE WORK, STUDY LESS BECAUSE OF TRANSIT

Overall, 57 percent of respondents said that roadway traffic has negatively affected their health; this number topped out at 96 percent in New Delhi, and 95 percent in Beijing.  Moreover, 29 percent overall said that traffic had negatively affected their school or work performance. But that percentage reached 84 percent in Beijing, 62 percent in New Delhi and 56 percent in Mexico City.

Moscow — recently featured in the New Yorker  for its insufferable congestion — won points for the longest traffic jams: when asked about the longest traffic jam they remembered sitting through over the past three years, drivers in Moscow reported an average of two-and-a-half hours stuck in traffic.

Many drivers reported that they would spend much more time working if they spent less time in traffic. 40 percent of New Delhi commuters say they would work more if they had a less painful commute; 25 percent of Mexico City and Beijing workers say they would work more.

IBM designed this chart showing the percentage of drivers in each city who say they would work more if they spent less time in traffic. Image via IBM.

IBM designed this chart showing the percentage of drivers in each city who say they would work more if they spent less time in traffic. Image via IBM.

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