High congestion can be due to a variety of factors. Bogota’s traffic is largely a result of weak public transportation options. The congestion in Rio de Janeiro is partly caused by its mountainous geography, funneling cars to a small number of throughways. Also, the number of cars in these cities is steadily rising—as in other mega-traffic cities like Mexico City, Sao Paolo, and Jakarta. Population increases and economic growth have led to more middle-class families that can afford a car.

There is hope for high traffic cities. Inrix’s data suggests cities can quickly reduce traffic by aggressively charging for use of roads or expanding public transportation infrastructure. From 2017 to 2019, average time in congestion in London fell by 13%. That decline is likely the result of a doubling of the congestion charge to enter London’s center for older, high-emissions cars.


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