A new report suggests some of Canada’s worst traffic bottlenecks cost drivers 11.5 million hours in delays each year, comparable to major American cities like New York and Los Angeles.
The report, commissioned by the Canadian Automobile Association, found that the most consistently congested stretch of highway in the country is a portion of the 401 running through central Toronto between Highway 427 and Yonge Street. It’s also the ninth most clogged artery in Canada and the United States. The Don Valley Parkway/Highway 404 between Don Mills Road and Finch Avenue is the second worst.
A bottleneck in Montreal on Highway 40 between Boulevard Pie-IX and Highway 520, considered the third worst in Canada according to the new research, compares with congestion levels in Boston.
The CAA identified the worst bottlenecks by analyzing provincial and municipal traffic volume numbers along with GPS data over nearly 3,000 kilometres of roads across the country.
Half of the top 20 bottlenecks were in Toronto, five were in Montreal, four were in Vancouver, and one was in Quebec City.
It says the report is meant to highlight areas where policy-makers should focus their attention to relieve congestion, which it argues hurts productivity and adds to overall greenhouse gas emissions. But observers caution against reading too much into the data, saying that not all slow traffic zones are created equal and those in the heart of urban areas need to be viewed differently from major highways.
The study used Census Metropolitan Areas data for Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Regina, Winnipeg, Toronto, Hamilton, Oshawa, Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec City and Halifax.