Monday, October 5, 2015

Bogotá, Outstanding in Traffic

A massive traffic jam on Calle 26 in central Bogotá.
The traffic app Waze has given Bogotá yet another outstanding rating, but this one is a measure of the
city's urban pain. According to Waze, Bogotá is the worst - yes, the very worst - place to drive of all the cities it evaluates. And Colombia is one of the worst nations in the world.

And the situation is fated to get lots worse, thanks to the boom in private cars. That's unless the government adopts unpopular policies such as hiking the price of gasoline or instituting a congestion charge. But politicians haven't shown the courage for those things.

Interestingly, European nations with high gasoline prices and high rates of bike commuting, such as Belgium and the Netherlands are ranked as good places to drive - showing that policies promoting 'alternative' transit actually benefit car addicts, as well.

Colombia, a bad place for drivers, and Venezuela (where gas is almost free) is even worse.

Would getting more folks onto bicycles mean fewer cars clogging the roads?

By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours


Jeff said...

You are reading the Waze study results incorrectly. A lower number is worse so San Salvador is actually ranked the worst city, not Bogotá.

coolcoil said...

Counterexample: USA with low gas prices and no congestion charges is highly ranked. Please explain.

Miguel said...

Hi Jeff,

Yes, that's confusing for me, too. I'm wondering whether there's another graph, which I didn't find. Other media widely reported that Bogota was the second worst, with a 2.9 score: From El Tiempo: 'Bogotá, la segunda ciudad del mundo con la peor movilidad, según Waze' . says "Among cities, Bogota in Colombia has the most miserable experience for drivers."

So, I think I'm missing something here, but can't find it.


Miguel said...

Hi Coolcoil,

Yes, the U.S. is ranked highly, but that's because it's poured and pours huge amounts of resources into car infrastructure, money which most other nations don't have. And even so, it suffers huge congestion delays, not to mention the pollution, obesity and other health troubles fed by all of that sedentarism.

Most people in the U.S., like people everywhere, have no point of reference because they've only lived in one country.


Jeff said...

What the El Tiempo article referenced with a 0.9 ranking (on 10 point scale) for Bogotá is the traffic index found here - In that Bogotá came out with the 7th worst traffic followed by Medellín. But I question their methodology as how can't Sao Paulo that has horrible traffic that is much worse than Bogotá or Medellín in my experience in over 7 trips to the city not be in the worst 15 cities. I would take Bogotá or Medellín traffic any day over the traffic found in Sao Paulo or Mexico City or Jakarta.

For the 2.9 ranking in the El Tiempo article that is for road quality found on the same link.

Miguel said...

These ratings, like corruption ratings, are totally subjective and depend a lot on whom you ask, media messages, etc. Waze's clients in different cities probably have different mixes, as well, producing different responses. And Waze apparently isn't present in many cities, especially African ones, so they aren't even on the list.