Drivers in Hamburg and Wiesbaden face worst traffic jams in Germany

Drivers in Hamburg and Wiesbaden face worst traffic jams in Germany

Hamburg has once again claimed the title of Germany’s traffic jam capital, although this time it shares its top spot with the city of Wiesbaden. Drivers in both cities lost 71 hours last year due to traffic congestion.

The TomTom Traffic Index 2021

Navigation company TomTom has released its annual TomTom Traffic Index and, once again, the city of Hamburg tops the list. Hamburg isn’t alone though; the 2021 iteration of TomTom’s traffic index sees the state capital of Hesse join the Hanseatic city as the joint-worst place for traffic in Germany.

For the 2021 Traffic Index, TomTom analysed data from around 600 million users' smartphones and navigation systems in 404 cities worldwide. About 20 percent of these users were based in Germany, with 27 German cities included in the study.

Germany’s two traffic jam capitals

The TomTom Traffic Index found that drivers in Germany lost the most time while on the roads in the cities of Hamburg and Wiesbaden. In these two cities, drivers lost an average of 71 hours in traffic last year. TomTom also revealed that getting around in both cities took an average of 31 percent longer than it would under ideal conditions. The German capital of Berlin came in a close second, behind Hamburg and Wiesbaden, with a congestion level of 30 percent.

TomTom’s study also revealed when the worst delays could be expected throughout the week. In Hamburg, the roads were busiest at 2pm and 3pm on a Friday (at these times the congestion level was at 59 percent). Over the whole of 2021, the traffic was at its worst in Hamburg on May 25th, the first working day after the Pentecost holiday, when the congestion level was at 61 percent.

Aachen, Nuremberg and Munich made up the top six most congested cities in Germany. Traffic was a lot lighter in cities like Leipzig, Frankfurt and Hanover, where the congestion levels were only 23, 20 and 20 percent respectively.

Effect of coronavirus pandemic on German traffic

The results from this year’s Traffic Index show that congestion levels were actually higher in 2019, before the coronavirus pandemic spread throughout the country. Experts point to numerous reasons for this, including more and more people starting to work from home over the course of the pandemic and a surge in demand for bicycles.

Having said that, the time delays measured from June to December last year started to reach similar values as the same period in 2019. “One would expect that traffic due to working from home, short-time work and the use of bicycles would have decreased significantly during the pandemic,” said TomTom expert Oliver Kannenberg. “However, the figures from TomTom indicate that these positive influencing factors are overshadowed by others. A possible explanation would be that people avoid public transport."

In the pandemic year of 2020, congestion levels were even lower than last year. In fact, only five German cities registered lower congestion levels in 2021 compared to 2020. These were: Kiel, Bremen, Karlsruhe, Düsseldorf and Mönchengladbach.

William Nehra


William Nehra

William studied a masters in Classics at the University of Amsterdam. He is a big fan of Ancient History and football, particularly his beloved Watford FC.

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