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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.