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Toronto among most-congested cities in North America: study

In news that will come as no surprise to commuters, Toronto is among the most congested cities in North America.

On average, journey times in Toronto are 25 per cent longer than when traffic in the city is flowing freely, according to a study released Thursday by GPS manufacturer TomTom.

TomTom used data captured on its GPS devices – the company’s database contains more than six trillion measurements – to come up with the numbers.

“This detailed knowledge of the entire road network helps businesses and governments make more informed decisions about how best to tackle and avoid congestion,” Ralf-Peter Schäfer, head of traffic at TomTom, said in a statement.

“The information also helps drivers get to their destinations faster. Significantly, when used on a large scale, TomTom Traffic has the potential to ease congestion in cities and urban areas by routing drivers away from congested areas.”

Los Angeles had the worst traffic on the continent, followed by Vancouver and Honolulu. Toronto was in at No. 6 and the third Canadian city on the top-10 list was Montreal at No. 10.

There are three other Canadian cities on the 59-city North American list: Ottawa at No. 18, Calgary at No. 26, and Edmonton at No. 34.

Last month, the Toronto Region Board of Trade (TRBOT) launched an anti-gridlock campaign, arguing congestion costs Toronto $6 billion a year in lost productivity, and by 2031, that number will leap to $15 billion annually.

TRBOT recommended raising taxes to pay for improved transit, including a one per cent regional sales tax, a $1/day parking space levy, a 10 cent/litre regional fuel tax and high-occupancy toll lanes, under which single drivers would be charged 30 cents a kilometre.

The city and surrounding regions are in the midst of a provincial overhaul of transit infrastructure. Metrolinx’s plan, dubbed The Big Move, will see $50 billion invested in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) over the next 25 years, but some of that money will have to come from municipalities themselves.

A Metrolinx report on funding ways is due to the province on June 1.