by Alex Gibson

Sydney drivers find themselves in stop-start traffic more frequently than drivers of any other Australian city, but they stop about half as much as drivers in the world’s most congested cities.

In a study by sat-nav maker TomTom, cities were ranked for the number of stop-starts drivers experienced in a 12-month period, using data from satellite navigation systems.

Istanbul was found the be the world’s worst city for stop-start driving, with the average number of stops per vehicle per year being 31,200. Sydney drivers come to a stop relatively infrequently, with an average of 13,200 stops per vehicle per year, however that was still enough to endow Sydney with the dubious title of Australia’s most stop-start affected city.

Between top ranked Istanbul and bottom ranked Rotterdam, there was a difference of more than 24,000 stops a year. Mexico city came second in the study, with drivers stopping 30,480 times on average per vehicle per year, followed by Moscow (29,520 stops), Beijing (28,200 stops) and St. Petersburg (28,080 stops).

Overall, Sydney’s stop-start problem came in at 35th on a list of 50 cities. Melbourne came second in Australia, scraping in at number 45 with 8,760 stops per vehicle per year, behind Wellington and Auckland and Wellington, who had 9,480 and 9,360 stops per vehicle per year respectively.

Head of TomTom Traffic, Ralf-Peter Schafer, said the main causes of stop-start driving were road congestion and poorly managed traffic flows.

“Istanbul’s highest stop rate among the big cities corresponds to its very high congestion level, followed by Moscow and Mexico City, certainly founded by heavy daily congestion as well. Travelling in Rotterdam however goes alone with the lowest stop rate as the city has moderate congestion.”

The goal of the study was to highlight the pressures changing driving conditions place on cars around the world, as frequent stop-starts can cause excessive wear on a car’s engine.




  • Chen Wu

    Dear sir,

    Documents gets christen titles of “Sydney is Australia’s worst city for stop-start driving”.

    Ok team thank! Good read it is, but I see erroneous veering from subject when you post illustration of Melbourne type road (it’s not Sydney where I lived now). Monash Freeways are not even in Sydney yet! Sydney is having M1, M2, M4, M5, M7, plus some tunnel.

    We encourage CarAdvice to replace photos so soons!

    Nice times,
    Chen Wu

    • Ron Flat

      What wu talkin’ about Chen Wu?!

  • Chen Wu

    Dear sir (again),

    Second error now I found it!

    “…behind Wellington and Auckland and Wellington, who had 9,480 and 9,360 stops…”.

    His confession now is why did he put in Wellington two time? I can’t see which number goes to which city. That is all the clarification I can get.

    Sincere Regard,
    Chen Wu

  • guest

    The solution to this is to discourage as much as possible single-occupant private driver cars from entering the CBD during peak-hour as much as possible and provide proper alternatives for them.

    These private single occupant vehicles jam the roads, especially for those who use their vehicles for work purposes.

    Another step would be replacing the thousands of buses with more efficient light rail and active transport (like off-road cycleways) for those who wish to use them. I live in Western Sydney and when I do want to use a bike to go to places in South Western Sydney, I can use cycleways and get there quite fast. If the same existed going towards the CBD, they’d be used frequently by many people.

    Building more roads and motorways won’t really help. Although it will cost an incredible amount of money.

    I try to avoid using a car as much as possible. It is frustrating.

    • JD

      Lol and here in Victoria, our wonderful premier wants to build a 9 billion dollar tunnel over public transport which will provide more benefit to victorians

      The less reliance on cars, the better

      • guest

        Totally agree with you. Motorists do have a place in cities, but there must be alternate routes which are for bicycles only and things like light rail (careful around the tracks though). Put these routes in useful areas such as Parramatta Road through to the CBD where they will link up with other things like the M4 cycleway and existing transport interchanges around that area.

        The city can’t take anymore cars. It is already at breaking point.

  • JoeR_AUS

    Bet there is a relationship to road rage as well

  • Tangible

    Well. sounds like a good place for hybrid and EV cars.

  • Rick

    Hahaha Sydney siders , more fool you

  • Shak

    Thanks for telling us what we already knew. Sydney, and more widely Australian capitals are a clear example of what happens when you invest poorly in public transport, and then build crappy roads to patch up the problem. And guess what our new PM’s solution is to all this? Not to spend a single cent on public transport infrastructure, but to build the “roads of the 21st century”, by which he means more 6 lane highways with painfully slow speed limits, and atrocious on and off ramps.

    • LA

      I was in LA and the roads there were awesome. So relaxing to drive and they flow very well for the amount of traffic volume they deal with.

      Why couldn’t Sydney have similar infrastructure?

      9 lane each way highways, everyone doing 80-90mph. Massive on/off ramps and big boulevards. Not only aesthetically pleasing but also very stress free and easier driving there.. Compared to the stressful and dangerous Sydney.

      • Shak

        Why? I’ll tell you why. For the simple reason that NO Australian government Federal or State has been able to look past the next election cycle for the past 30 years or so. They all think about what impacts their policies will have in the next 3 years rather than the next 10 or 20. No major infrastructure has been built in this country in almost 20 years that is designed to meet current AND future demand.

        Whats worse is we now have a Federal government with a PM who is largely operating on a “she’ll be right” mentality for most of his policies. We may be the lucky country, but apparently that luck doesn’t extend to having any smart pollies.

  • Dave W

    Add the drivers who like to go 10-20kph under the limit but when he sees the light turns yellow, he guns it, leaving you stuck at the light when you both (maybe even the car behind you as well) could’ve made it if he had just drive at the speed limit.

  • hosie

    In other news the sky is blue and water is wet

  • RS265

    And still we pay rego and tolls to be stopping more than moving, speed camera revenues disappear into space and no infrastructures or better transportations systems are deployed.

    Go figure… You corrupt bastar#’s!!!