Automobile Congestion: Montreal Among the 50 Worst Cities in the World!

05 July 2024 BY Jean-Sébastien Poudrier

My work as an automotive journalist takes me to the streets of our regional metropolis almost every week, and if there is one thing that horrifies me about Montreal, it’s the traffic. It's a shame because I love this city for countless reasons.


No matter the time or day of the week, you can get stuck in endless traffic jams in Montreal. In fact, it only takes one accident to create major congestion. Not to mention the construction and the numerous detours we have to take. In short, all this to say that Montreal unfortunately ranks in the top 50 most congested cities in the world according to the INRIX report.


A Lack of Organization?


More than 900 cities were studied over a period of three years. This report takes into account travel delays as well as the cost of congestion. Montreal ranked 30th with an average of 57 hours of time lost in traffic per motorist per year. That’s huge. However, it should be noted that our regional metropolis is not the only Canadian city on this list. Toronto ranks 17th. Other major cities were also part of the study but did not make it into the top 50, such as Winnipeg at 289th and Edmonton at 639th. Vancouver narrowly missed the top 50, ranking 56th.


Unsurprisingly, New York is in first place with an average loss of 101 hours per car per year due to congestion.


There are several reasons that explain traffic jams, but the biggest problem lies in our driving habits. Public transport is far less developed in Montreal compared to other major cities. Additionally, I often notice the number of people who are alone in their cars every time I go to Montreal. Add to that construction, accidents, and other similar factors, and that explains the congestion. Not to mention that many people live outside of Montreal and work in the metropolis, causing traffic at specific times.


I went to India a few years ago. If you take a city like Delhi, you find one and a half times the population of Canada in a single urban center. Despite this, the traffic is surprisingly smooth. Of course, I’m not talking about safety here, as you can see entire families on a motorcycle, dozens of people on a tractor, or even people traveling on camelback, all on the same road. In conclusion, the congestion problem mainly stems from the structure of our transportation.


Jean-Sébastien Poudrier