A report ranking the most congested roads in the world in 2019 has revealed that two Polish cities are among the four worst in the European Union for traffic.

The TomTom Traffic Index Report measures traffic in 416 cities in 57 countries around the world. It found Łódź to be the third most congested city in the EU (and 19th in the world), with an average of 47% traffic. Drivers in the city lost 186 hours stuck in traffic jams over the course of the year.

Kraków followed close behind, ranked 4th in the EU with 45% traffic but an even higher number of hours (195) lost by drivers over the year. The Indian city of Bengaluru took the top position worldwide, with 71% traffic, while the worst two cities in the EU were Bucharest (52%) and Dublin (48%).

The remaining Polish metropolitan areas included in the ranking were: Poznań (27th), Warsaw (37th), Wrocław (41st), Bydgoszcz (71st), the Tricity of Gdańsk, Sopot and Gdynia (82nd), Szczecin (122nd), Lublin (172nd), Białysok (191st), Bielsko-Biała (267th) and Katowice (320th).

TomTom found that congestion increased in all 12 of the Polish locations included in the report, with the biggest rise, of 5%, recorded in Kraków. Across the world, 239 cities out of the 416 also showed increased traffic levels in 2019, with only 63 cities demonstrating  a decrease.

Ralf-Peter Schäfer, the head of traffic and travel information at TomTom, acknowledged there was a lot to be done globally before traffic levels could be controlled.

“Over time, the development of autonomous vehicles and car sharing services will help reduce congestion, but it is important for planners and decision makers to get started now,” he said, adding that tools to analyse congestion levels can be used to help “make key infrastructure decisions”. 

As well as being among the most congested, Poland’s roads are also some of the EU’s most dangerous. According to Eurostat data, Poland has the fifth-highest rate of road fatalities in proportion to the population among all member states, and the third-highest rate of pedestrian fatalities.

The government has pledged to make tackling this a priority, with Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki promising legal changes as well extra financing for police and infrastructure. In December, his government announced three changes to Poland’s road rules intended to improve safety.

PM announces three new road rules to reduce some of the “highest death rates in Europe”

Juliette Bretan is a freelance journalist covering Polish and Eastern European current affairs and culture. Her work has featured on the BBC World Service, and in CityMetric, The Independent, Ozy, New Eastern Europe and Culture.pl.

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