Which Sydney suburbs have the worst traffic?

If you’ve been sitting in traffic today, you’re not the only one. Sydney is the most congested city in Australia and even more congested than Los Angeles or San Francisco. If possible, it’s worth avoiding certain suburbs and intersections in Sydney. Is it time for a congestion tax?

Sydney is the most congested city

Sydney beats Melbourne as the most congested city in Australia. Drivers spend 11 more hours and take 21.5 minutes (20.5 minutes in Melbourne) to travel only 10 kms in rush hour traffic.

Sydney ranks 43 in the world, compared to Melbourne at 59. In fact, Sydney’s traffic is worse than in Los Angeles or San Francisco.

Los Angeles drivers take only 11 mins, 50 seconds to travel 10 kms and spend 113 hours a year in rush hour traffic. San Francisco is only slightly better, with drivers spending 109 hours a year in rush hour traffic.

However, none of these cities is as bad as London, where drivers spend 325 hours per year in traffic and take more than 36 minutes to travel 10 kms. These figures come from the TomTom Global Index, which presents a rather sobering picture of how motorists all over the world are wasting their time – and money – in traffic.

The most congested places

The most congested part of Sydney are its centres of business and tourism – the CBD, Haymarket and The Rocks. Second is Liverpool in Sydney’s west. (The Hume Highway in Liverpool is also the worst place for car accidents.)  Northern suburbs, Chatswood and Artarmon, are together in 3rd place for congestion.

Some intersections are guaranteed to be congested. Transport for NSW measures traffic volumes around Sydney via its Traffic Volume Viewer.

  • The busiest intersection is where Anzac Parade meets Boyce Road in Maroubra, with 182,145 vehicle movements every day.
  • Second is where Pittwater Road meets Howard Avenue in Dee Why, with 174,731 daily vehicle movements.
  • Third is in Currans Hills, with 159,113 daily vehicle movements where Narellan Road meets Tramway Drive.

Note, some vehicles may be counted more than once.

What is the answer to congestion?

Some cities, like London, have a congestion tax in the inner city. The previous NSW government considered a congestion tax for Sydney, but this has since been rejected.

One answer to congestion is not to drive at all. Central Sydney in particular, Liverpool, Chatswood and Artarmon all have good public transport. For many motorists, this could involve a difficult change in lifelong habits.

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