Hate your commute? Then pity workers in Beijing, Mexico City

Wed Jun 30, 2010 3:31am EDT
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By Belinda Goldsmith

SYDNEY (Reuters Life!) - If you think your drive to work is bad then spare a thought for commuters in the cities of Beijing, Mexico City and Johannesburg which have come top in a global poll of the worst driving commutes in the world.

An IBM Commuter Pain Study of 8,192 motorists in 20 cities, released Wednesday, found most commuters -- 67 percent -- said traffic has got worse in the past three years and it is making them sick and affecting how they do their job.

The survey found 65 percent of people driving to work every day say the journey makes them stressed, angry and reduces their sleep and family time while 29 percent said traffic was adversely impacting their performance at work or school.

Some cities came out worse than others with 22 percent of commuters in Mexico City taking more than an hour a day for a typical one-way trip to work compared to only two percent of commuters in New York or Madrid taking that long.

"Cities like Beijing and Mexico City have very long commutes and the uncertainty of the commute is high as one day it can take 45 minutes and the next day two hours," IBM's Global Lead for Intelligent Transportation Naveen Lamba told Reuters.

"This means a lot of time stuck in traffic and on occasions people just give up and go back home ... and it is not just the individuals affected but there is a cost for businesses and for the cities themselves. You have a cascading affect."

Rounding out the top 10 of the worst cities for commuters were Moscow, New Delhi, Sao Paulo, Milan, Buenos Aires, Madrid and London, with scores determined by up to 10 factors including commuting time, time stuck in traffic, and stress levels.

Lamba said this was the third annual commuter pain survey but this was the first global poll as the previous two had focused only on U.S. cities.   Continued...

<p>Buildings stand shrouded in smog in Mexico City December 11, 2009. REUTERS/Daniel Aguilar</p>