Skip to content

Top 50 Cities With The Worst Traffic In The World (2024)

Traffic is a reality that everyone has to deal with. But if you think it is bad in your city then you really should see this list of cities with the worst traffic; and then understand what real traffic looks like.

While for some people, traffic is a convenient excuse for going to work late; for others it is a real problem; a cause of downtime, and a matter of life and death.

In the cities highlighted below, it is common to spend hours on the road, in the searing heat, surrounded by bad tempered drivers shouting insults at one another. This makes a bad situation even more frustrating; an everyday occurrence which people have no choice but to experience, taking all the fun out of life.

Top 50 Cities With The Worst Traffic

1. Lagos, Nigeria        

Lagos is the commercial capital of Nigeria; and therefore the commercial capital of West Africa. This is a port city; and also an important cultural center. This was formerly the capital of Nigeria; although it has now been replaced by Abuja.

Lagos only measures 1,171.28 km2, but has a population of around 17 million people; which means it is quite densely populated.

The thing with Lagos is that its important financial hubs are located on islands, and are only linked through bridges. During rush hour these bridges become hopelessly congested especially at U-turns and intersections.

It is not only on the islands; mainland Lagos can get locked in terrible traffic jams; this is caused by the fact that the city suddenly exploded in population, and as a result the existing infrastructure was just inadequate. Presently, new roads are being built, and existing ones are being expanded. Perhaps the traffic situation will improve in the near future.

2. Los Angeles, CA, United States

Los Angeles is a famous and very important city in California, USA. It is home to Hollywood; the nation’s (and the world’s) film capital. Los Angeles has a population of around 3.9 million residents; and it gets around 4.9 million visitors every year; making it the third most visited city in the United States.

All of these have effects on the traffic situation of the city; Los Angeles can get locked in a traffic gridlock for hours. It does not seem that there is a way out of this; Los Angeles is a very popular city; and just the number of visitors coming in everyday makes the roads extremely busy.

Furthermore, not everybody coming to Los Angeles is actually is a visitor; many have dreams of becoming actors and actresses; making it big in Hollywood. This is perhaps the single biggest factor that drives up vehicle traffic in the city.

3. Colombo, Sri Lanka

Colombo is the administrative capital of Sri Lanka, and it is also the largest city in the country with a population of 5.6 million out of 22 million which is the population of the entire country. Colombo is quite beautiful; it is a port city with lots of beautiful beaches and resorts; tourism is an important part of the country.

Sri Lanka recently saw half a million visitors in a year; and many of those visitors arrived at Colombo which is the nation’s main airport city; and the location of most of the fine hotels. It seems that the infrastructure available is just not enough to cope with the high number of vehicle traffic; which explains why the roads can get so badly congested.

Colombo is a very busy city; it is a place where even people on foot can get stuck in traffic; and if one tries to shout his way past, nobody will hear.

4. Dhaka, Bangladesh

Dhaka is the capital of Bangladesh. It is also one of the largest and most densely populated cities in the world. The city has over 20 million residents when you add those in the greater Dhaka area; and the city has many beautiful monuments and a very well laid out environment.

However, the traffic situation in this city is just terrible; people often spend several hours on the road, even though they are travelling otherwise short distances which can be covered in a few minutes.

Dhaka was once called the Venice of the East; it has plenty of waterways linking different parts of the city. Although these waterways have not been developed; there are already some plans in motion to harness them as a way of easing traffic situation, and making it easier for people to get around within the city.

5. Delhi, India

Delhi is the capital of India; it is also one of the most culturally important cities in the nation of India. Delhi has plenty of waterways, but measures just 1,484 square kilometers with a population of around 17 million people.

Delhi is quite a beautiful city; there are many monuments which remind us of the city’ glorious past, and then there are many important landmarks serving many different purposes. Delhi is one of the most important and attractive cities in the whole of India.

Nevertheless, that beauty can be overshadowed by the terrible state of traffic. It is almost impossible to arrive on time for meetings or social events in Delhi because it is common for the traffic to be gridlocked for several hours at a time, especially during peak hours.

To counter this however, other kind of transport have become quite popular in the city; such as motorbikes, and tricycles which are locally called rickshaws.

6. Kolkata, India

Kolkata is another bustling city in India; it is of great historical and cultural significance. This is also the second largest Bengali speaking state in India. It has a population of 4.5 million in the city proper, but the Greater Calcutta area has a population of around 15 million people.

Kolkata is the commercial and financial capital of eastern India; which means it is just as significant as any other state in the country.

The city therefore sees a lot of movement of goods and persons; as this is a thriving area for business. With so many trucks, cars, and buses on the road at the same time, traffic in Kolkata can be quite messy.

Kolkata’s traffic police has stated that it faces challenges in carrying out its duties, and as a result strict fines have been imposed on traffic offenders with the hope of reducing the traffic gridlocks for which the city has become known.

7. Mexico City, Mexico

Mexico City is the capital of Mexico; it is the administrative as well as financial center of the country. Set in a valley at a very high ground; this is a very important city in terms of history and culture; it was the site of an ancient civilization of the same name.

Mexico City is the largest city in the country, and also the largest city in North America. It has a population of 9.2 million in the city proper, and when you add the Greater Mexico City, the population goes up to 22 million.

Mexico City is a bustling city; aside from the residents who also commute daily; the city also gets a lot of visitors; some of who come in for recreational purposes, business purposes or any other purposes.

Mexico City therefore suffers from a traffic epidemic which seems to have no cure. The traffic situation is difficult to control because there are so many vehicles on the road at the same time.

8. Mumbai, India

Mumbai is another Indian city in the spotlight for its terrible traffic situation. This is a mega city by design; it is the financial capital of India; and the most important business district in the country.

It has a deep harbor, several important ports, beaches, and many monuments-some of which are of historical significance.

Mumbai has a population of 12.5 million within the city proper, and in the greater Mumbai area the population goes up to 23 million. Having 23 million people living in an area will produce some technical difficulties, chief among them being how they are going to move about.

Mumbai is notorious for the terrible traffic that it regularly sees. The vehicle count stands at 2.7 million; and that gives a picture of how busy the roads can get.

9. Nairobi, Kenya

Nairobi is the capital of Kenya; it is one of the most important cities in east Africa. This city which started out with a population of around 5,000 people now has a population of around 4.6 million. The city also has a very prosperous vibe about it; it is a city with plenty of young people.

Nairobi is experiencing a lot of development; it is the financial and commercial capital of Kenya. There are hotels, factories, residencies and so many other establishments springing up in the city. This means there are plenty economic opportunities in the city; giving rise for the need to commute.

With this need to commute comes the traffic jams; in Nairobi motorists can spend up to 3 hours in traffic; in the searing heat, with bad music. It is difficult to explain to visitors that the infrastructure just cannot handle the traffic. Nairobi gets plenty of visitors coming from above; mostly it is to see the wildlife.

10. Manila, Philippines

Manila is the capital of the Philippines; interestingly though, it is not the most populated city in the country; it ranks second for that. Manila is one of the most important cities in Southeast Asia; both in terms of culture and economics.

Manila has a population of around 1.8 million people; it is the most densely populated city proper in the world. That sums up the very nature of Manila as a city; too many people, too little space.

With such tight conditions, getting around becomes a huge problem. Manila has a famous traffic problem; it is the worst in Southeast Asia. Motorists can spend up to 3 hours in traffic; although locals seem to be turning to motorcycles to avoid that.

The following are the 50 worst traffic cities in the world.

Rank City Traffic index Location
1 Lagos, Nigeria 342.5 West Africa
2 Los Angeles, CA, United States 317.2 North America
3 Colombo, Sri Lanka 299.3 Southern Asia
4 Dhaka, Bangladesh 287.4 Southern Asia
5 Delhi, India 284.4 Southern Asia
6 Kolkata, India 268.7 Southern Asia
7 Mexico City, Mexico 258.6 North America
8 Mumbai, India 258.1 Southern Asia
9 Nairobi, Kenya 256.4 East Africa
10 Manila, Philippines 253.3 Southeast Asia
11 San Francisco, CA, United States 252.1 North America
12 Jakarta, Indonesia 249.6 Southern Asia
13 Tehran, Iran 249.1 Southwestern Asia
14 Bangalore, India 247.9 Southern Asia
15 Cairo, Egypt 244.9 North America
16 Istanbul, Turkey 242.2 West Asia
17 Sao Paulo, Brazil 232.5 South America
18 Pretoria, South Africa 230.5 Southern Africa
19 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 229.5 South America
20 Bogota, Colombia 227.6 South America
21 Lima, Peru 227.1 South America
22 Boston, MA, United States 216.4 North America
23 Moscow, Russia 215.7 Eastern Europe
24 Miami, FL, United States 213.3 North America
25 Bangkok, Thailand 212.6 Southeast Asia
26 Seattle, WA, United States 210.3 North America
27 Cape Town, South Africa 209.0 Southern Africa
28 Buenos Aires, Argentina 207.5 South America
29 Brisbane, Australia 207.2 Oceania
30 Saint Petersburg, Russia 206.4 Eastern Europe
31 Perth, Australia 205.1 Oceania
32 Houston, TX, United States 204.9 North America
33 Sydney, Australia 204.5 Oceania
34 Johannesburg, South Africa 203.1 Southern Africa
35 Honolulu, HI, United States 202.7 North America
36 Recife, Brazil 202.5 South America
37 Chennai, India 200.9 Southern Asia
38 Toronto, Canada 200.8 North America
39 Atlanta, GA, United States 199.1 North America
40 Melbourne, Australia 197.7 Oceania
41 Adelaide, Australia 196.1 Oceania
42 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 193.4 Southeast Asia
43 Belo Horizonte, Brazil 193.4 South America
44 Amman, Jordan 193.3 Middle East
45 Shanghai, China 191.6 Southeast Asia
46 Beirut, Lebanon 190.2 Middle East
47 San Jose, CA, United States 189.5 North America
48 Karachi, Pakistan 188.9 Southern Asia
49 Pune, India 188.8 Southern Asia
50 Chicago, IL, United States 187.9 North America



The cities with the worst traffic in the world have a common denominator; they have rapidly growing populations. Perhaps it is that single factor, by straining the available infrastructure beyond capacity that results in the huge traffic gridlocks that can be observed in these cities.

Many interesting solutions are being developed, it is interesting to see the effect they have, and how traffic can be managed in the future.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *