Grinding to a Halt, Evaluating Canada’s Worst Bottlenecks revealed the findings of its study conducted the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA).
The study, the first of its kind, found that the country’s top 20 most congested traffic bottlenecks cover just 65 kilometres, collectively cost drivers more than 11.5 million hours and drains an extra 22 million litres of fuel a year.
“Traffic congestion is a major source of stress for Canadians. Our study concludes that traffic bottlenecks affect Canadians in every major urban market, increasing commute times by as much as 50%,” said Jeff Walker, vice-president of Public Affairs for CAA National. “Reducing these bottlenecks will increase the quality of life for millions of Canadians, save millions in fuel costs and reduce greenhouse gases, helping contribute to Canada’s climate change commitments.”
CAA said that other studies show that bottlenecks are the single biggest contributor to road delay, far outpacing traffic accidents, inclement weather and construction. Its study, however, includes the cost to Canadians of these bottlenecks in terms of lost time, productivity and added greenhouse gas emissions.
According to the data, Toronto placed 10 bottlenecks in the top 20. Montreal placed five, Vancouver placed four and Quebec City placed one. Other markets such as Calgary, Edmonton, Regina, Ottawa and Halifax also experience serious traffic delays.
Compared with US bottlenecks using a similar methodology, Toronto and Montreal bottlenecks rank among the worst in North America.
The study found that Canada’s worst highway bottleneck is the stretch of Highway 401 that cuts across the north part of Toronto. This bottleneck alone costs commuters over 3 million hours of annual delays. In total, five of the top ten bottlenecks are found in the Toronto area.
As well, the stretch of Highway 40 into downtown Montreal is the third worst bottleneck in the country, costing commuters nearly 2 million hours of annual delays.
And even though Vancouver does not have non-signalized highways serving the downtown core, stretches of two main arteries (Granville St. and West Georgia St.) are congested enough to fall within the top ten bottlenecks — and produce the slowest driving speeds in the country.