How European Cities Performed in the TomTom Traffic Index 2023
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European Cities in the Top 50 of the TomTom Traffic Index 2023

European cities continue to dominate the TomTom Traffic Index with their presence in the top 50 (let’s get this right, it actually means the worst 50 cities globally), reflecting the high density of urban development and the challenges associated with managing traffic in historical and economic hubs. Here are five of worst performers from Europe in 2023:

If we consider travel times we are looking at the result of multiple factors, which can be grouped into static factors such as road network configuration, road sizes and capacities, or speed limits. And there are so-called dynamic factors too, like traffic congestion, roadworks, bad weather… All these are providing changes in traffic flow. Who are the worst performers 2023 in Europe:

  • London: London topped the list as the slowest city to drive in, with an average speed of a mere 24 km/h (15 mph) in the city center and significant travel time losses due to congestion.
  • Dublin: Marked as the most congested at peak times, commuters in Dublin lost up to 153 hours annually to traffic, a significant increase in lost time, making it a city with one of the highest congestion levels in Europe.
  • Bucharest: The Romanian capital also featured high in the index, with significant traffic congestion. Commuters in Bucharest lost an average of 138 hours in 2023, a slight increase from the previous year.
  • Paris: The French capital is notable not just for its congestion but also for the economic impact of traffic jams. Driving a petrol car during rush hour in Paris could increase the cost of driving by 40%, a considerable expense for daily commuters.
  • Milan: Milan is sneaking in as the third slowest city in Europe with an average of 28:50 minutes needed for a 10km (6.21 miles) trip.

The index highlights that despite the adoption of remote working and more flexible office hours, traffic congestion remains a significant issue in European cities. It also reflects the economic costs associated with traffic, not only in terms of time lost but also in the financial burden on the driver's wallet and the environment due to increased CO2 emissions.

These European cities, with their complex network of roads and high demand for mobility, showcase the need for sustainable and efficient urban transport solutions. For future-oriented motorists in Europe, this may mean considering alternative modes of transport, advocating for better public transport options, or supporting the development of smart city solutions that can alleviate traffic and improve the quality of urban living.

"I am not surprised to see London and Paris ranking that high in the TomTom Traffic Index 2023, however both cities are working hard to change to a more sustainable and smarter mobility through micromobility vehicles, congestion charges and other"
Michael Brecht, Co-Founder MOTION Mobility

The Key Findings from the TomTom Traffic Index 2023 in a nutshell

Travel Times and Congestion:

  • London remained the slowest city for drivers in 2023, with an average speed of 24 km/h (15 mph) in the city center and a travel time of 35 minutes for a 6-mile trip. This represents a slight increase from the previous year.
  • Dublin was identified as the most congested city at peak times in 2023, with daily commuters losing up to 153 hours to traffic annually.
  • Overall, average speeds decreased in 228 out of the 387 cities analyzed, indicating a general trend of slowing traffic.

Economic Impact:

  • The average cost of driving a petrol car increased by 27% from 2021 to 2022, while diesel car drivers saw a 48% increase in costs.
  • Despite the adoption of flexible working arrangements, the time and money lost to rush-hour traffic have increased, with commuters in Dublin losing as much as 140 hours annually.
  • The costliest city to drive in was Hong Kong, with a driver commuting every day at rush hour spending over $1000 annually.

Environmental Impact:

  • Increased journey times and fuel consumption have led to a rise in CO2 emissions. For example, a Londoner commuting daily emits 1.1 tonnes (2412 lbs) of CO2 per year.
  • Major cities saw a rise in travel times across 62% of the cities analyzed, partly due to the return to office work and inflationary pressures.

Comparison of Vehicle Types:

  • Electric vehicles (EVs) emerged as a more cost-effective option in major European cities. For instance, in London, EV drivers charging at slow-charging points saved nearly half the cost compared to petrol car drivers.
  • The variability in fuel prices highlighted the benefit of driving EVs, with their costs being less volatile compared to petrol or diesel.

Methodology Updates:

The 2023 index introduced a new methodology, assessing the time per mile driven and simulating a 6-mile journey within the city to better reflect real-world driving conditions.

Navigating the Urban Maze: The Motorist's Guide to Europe's Congested Cities

In the wake of the latest TomTom Traffic Index, motorists in Europe's bustling cities face a suite of challenges and opportunities. Beyond the pocketbook, the environment weighs heavily on the European driver's conscience. The exhaust fumes from stop-and-go traffic swell into a larger cloud of concern, as CO2 emissions climb with the congestion levels. This environmental impact is prompting drivers to consider the carbon footprint of their commute and the broader implications of their travel choices.

The congested roads of Europe's cities also weave into the fabric of daily life, often fraying the edges of leisure and personal time. The stress of traffic and the erosion of time for personal activities are driving a quest for balance, with motorists seeking ways to reclaim calm and reclaim hours lost to the bumper-to-bumper grind. However, European drivers are at the mercy of urban infrastructure and policy. The complexities of road networks, often outpaced by the volume of traffic, highlight the need for civic engagement. Drivers are increasingly voicing their support for transport policies that promise smoother travel and advocating for smart city solutions.

Despite the rise of remote work, the expected exodus from city centers has not eased the traffic burden. This has led to a reflection on living arrangements, with proximity to work becoming a prized consideration, potentially reshaping residential patterns and the real estate market. In response to these challenges, motorists are turning to technology for relief. Real-time traffic monitoring apps have become the compass by which savvy drivers navigate, allowing for more informed and less congested commutes.

Lastly, as the roads remain clogged and the costs of driving climb, the lure of alternative transportation grows. The support for cycling, e-scooters, and enhanced public transit is gaining momentum as motorists seek viable paths to a more sustainable and agile urban life.


The TomTom Traffic Index 2023 underscores the persistent challenges of urban traffic, the rising costs of driving, and the environmental toll of congestion. For motorists, these insights could inform decisions about commuting patterns, vehicle choice, and participation in conversations about urban planning and sustainability.