Skip to main content

Toronto has the fifth-best score on an IBM-led survey of 'commuter pain,' ranking cities around the world based on commuting time, gas prices, ease of movement on the road and other factors.Deborah Baic/The Globe and Mail

Finally, Toronto has fared well in an international study of commuter traffic, but only in comparison to some of the most congested urban centres in the world.

The city has the fifth best score on an IBM-led "commuter pain" survey, which ranked 20 cities around the world based on a formula weighing commuting time, time stuck in traffic, gas prices, ease of movement on the road and whether driving was a cause of anger.

With a commuter pain index of 27, Toronto came in far behind the cities reporting the most traffic-related headaches, a list led by Mexico City (108) and two Chinese cities, Shenzhen and Beijing, which tied at 95.

Both Mexico City and Beijing have populations larger than 20 million, while Shenzhen's has risen above 10 million.

Although its residents may disagree, Montreal fared the best of the 20 cities, with the lowest pain index (21) of a list that included Chicago (25), New York City (28), New Delhi (72) and Nairobi (88).

IBM, which encourages cities to use technology to improve infrastructure problems through its Smarter Cities consulting, surveyed 8,000 people around the world.

The company noted that even cities that have invested heavily in combatting traffic have seen rising levels of commuter stress. Forty-two per cent of all respondents reported increased stress due to their commute, and 11 cities reported an increase in respondents who said that traffic has negatively affected their performance at work or school.

According to the survey, 23 per cent of Toronto respondents said that traffic has improved "somewhat" or "substantially" over the previous year. In 2010, only 8 per cent felt that way.

But 40 per cent of Toronto commuters said that traffic has increased their stress levels, up from just 14 per cent the year before.

Twenty-nine per cent of Toronto drivers said that traffic has made them angry.