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Traffic moves along the causeway in Stanley Park in downtown Vancouver June 4, 2008.Jeff Vinnick

Vancouver is the most congested city in Canada when measured by rush-hour traffic, a new study has found.

Los Angeles is the worst in all of North America, the study also reveals.

The first quarterly Congestion Index, released on Tuesday, looked at data in the first three months of 2012 from 26 major North American cities and compared travel times during non-congested periods with those of peak rush hours.

The study was conducted by TomTom, the in-car GPS navigation system, based on data collected from cars using the company's product.

Vancouverites driving in rush hour spent 33-per-cent more time in traffic than when traffic was flowing freely, the study found. Motorists who drive in rush hour there can expect to spend an extra 83 hours a year in traffic, assuming they have a 30-minute commute.

In Los Angeles, journey times take 33-per-cent longer in rush hour on average and 77-per-cent longer during the evening rush hour.

The index also compared congestion levels between January and March, 2012, with the same period in 2011. Based on this analysis, Seattle saw the biggest increase in traffic congestion, followed by Houston, Ottawa and San Francisco.

Edmonton, New York, Boston, Minneapolis and Toronto experienced a reduction in congestion levels.

Here's how Canadian cities fared overall, according to the study:

Vancouver

Ranked second in North America and first in Canada in terms of congestion. Vancouver's evening rush-hour traffic can add 65 per cent to travel time.

Best time to travel in the week: Friday morning

Worst time: Tuesday evening

Toronto

Even though it ranks as the ninth most congested city in North America, Toronto saw a dramatic reduction in congestion levels from 2011, when it was No. 3. Journey times take 22-per-cent longer in rush hour than when traffic in the city is flowing freely and 56-per-cent longer during the evening rush hour.

Best time to travel in the week: Friday morning

Worst time: Thursday evening

Calgary

Calgary dropped from the 13th most congested city in North America to No. 16. On average, rush-hour trips take 17 per cent longer, with city streets slightly more congested than highways.

Best time to travel in the week: Tuesday morning and Friday evening

Worst time: Friday morning

Edmonton

Edmonton made the greatest strides in dropping its rank from eighth worst congested city in North America to 23.

Best time to travel in the week: Thursday morning

Worst time: Friday morning

Montreal

Ranked as the 12th most congested city in North America, it's still in a better position than last year,when Montreal ranked seventh. Journey times take 20-per-cent longer on average in rush hour than when traffic is flowing freely and 63-per-cent longer during the evening rush hour.

Best time to travel in the week: Friday morning

Worst time: Thursday evening

Ottawa

The only Canadian city where congestion levels went up, Ottawa now ranks as the 10th most congested city.

Best time to travel in the week: Monday morning

Worst time: Thursday evening

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