The Most and Least Traffic-jammed Countries
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The worlds most traffic jammed countries

The Most Traffic-Jammed Countries Header

Although international borders are reopening and jet-setting is back on the cards for lots of countries, the travel restrictions of last year have given us a real taste for driving holidays.

But, as more of us plan a road trip in favour of taking to the skies, the tranquility of cruising down a highway or weaving through the countryside sometimes meets an unwelcomed set back - a traffic jam.

With the UK experiencing busier roads than ever before, we take a look at just how bad, or good, other countries have it too. We analysed globally the number of vehicles registered to a country, the miles of legal carriageway there is to drive on, as well as, the average amount of time spent in traffic each year, to reveal the most and least traffic-jammed countries.

UAE tops the busy roads list as UK narrowly avoids the top 10

The UK finds itself just outside the top 10 most traffic jammed countries. According to our analysis there are 133 vehicles per mile of road which puts it in at 12th out of the 50.

The Most Traffic-Jammed Countries 2

Way up in the top spot (or bottom, depending on how you look at it) is United Arab Emirates. With nearly 3.5 million vehicles and only 4,080 miles of road, there’s a huge 850 vehicles for every mile.

The fourth-most jammed country is Hong Kong, with 879,000 motors for only 2,000 miles – not even a quarter of London’s total road length.

Ireland has some of the world’s most open roads

On the Emerald Isle, you’ll find only 20 other cars on each stretch of road. And with routes like the Ring of Kerry and Burren Loop, Ireland scores well on all fronts. It’s also one of only three European states to feature in the 10 least traffic-jammed countries.

Boasting very nearly the same number of vehicles and miles of road (378,000 and 369,000), Bangladesh has only a single vehicle for every mile – giving it the world’s most open roads.

Australia also scores well, despite its 20-million-plus vehicle count, which is over twice as many as any other country at this end of the table. This is possibly down to the fact that roughly 40% of Australia’s total landmass is currently uninhabited, making roads much more free on average.

Although not visible on our charts the USA may also surprise some - with only two out of the 50 countries in our study, India and China, having more registered motors than the States, they would still manage to appear on the least traffic-jammed end of the table with 67 vehicles per mile.

UK drivers spend almost three full days in traffic every year

By translating vehicles per mile into time, UK drivers are each spending 4,653 hours of their lives in traffic – that’s almost three days every year.

However, that pales in comparison to UAE drivers who spend almost 17 total days a year stationary behind the wheel. It’d take less time to travel the world’s longest driveable distance, from Khasan, Russia to South Africa’s Cape Town (13,600 miles and 13.42 days).

Bangladesh again gets the best deal, with only 0.02 days sitting in traffic every year – less than half an hour!


Analysing the number of registered vehicles and miles of road, Select calculated and ranked the most and least traffic-jammed countries – based on the 50 countries with the highest GDP.

For time spent in traffic, each country’s vehicles-per-mile figure was compared against an average traffic time of three studies (4,288 hours per lifetime) and also the United Nations’ life expectancy (73 years).

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David Hughes

Friday, 17/05/2024