The Best and Worst Cities to Drive in, According to the 2019 Driving Cities Index

The Best and Worst Cities to Drive in, According to the 2019 Driving Cities Index

One recent study compared 100 global cities on their air pollution, infrastructure, congestion, associated driving costs, and incidents of road rage. Some of the findings might surprise you.

Today, a press release by the 2019 Driving Cities Index released newfound data on an investigation into the best and worst cities for driving around the world. After analyzing a number of indicators that determine a city’s driving conditions, cities like El Paso and Calgary are ranked highly whereas New York and Mumbai score low.

Driving is dangerous. Let’s face it, there are a number of risks associated with getting in your car every day that we don’t think about or block out of our minds. Car crashes, air pollution, weather—driving a car is a risk we all take. Still, over three-quarters of the U.S. population commute by car, according to the Mister Auto summary of the study.

The recent study by the 2019 Driving Cities Index not only identifies which cities are “best” and “worst” to drive in, but it also points out the various factors that affect our morning commute, our road trip plans, and our reliance on cars in general. Because a number of elements affect the driver experience—like infrastructure, congestion, air pollution, and others—a study like this one can help show how cities are successfully, or unsuccessfully, utilizing infrastructure and legislation to improve driving conditions.  

How the Study Was Conducted
Researchers analyzed hundreds of worldwide cities, then narrowed down a shortlist of 100. These various cities provided reliable and extensive data for a wide range of scores. Then, the study was divided into three categories that are most important for making a city a good location to drive in: infrastructure, safety, and costs.

Infrastructure. A number of factors were examined to determine a city’s infrastructure like the number of cars per capita, traffic congestion, road and public transport quality, among others. Air quality levels were also investigated to determine the city’s commitment to fresh air and citizen health.

“There are a number of cities in the world where you can’t even open the window while driving due to the amount of smog and pollution from cars, which make a huge impact on the health and safety of their drivers and inhabitants,” said Sébastien Rohart, Managing Director of Mister Auto. “We included air quality in this study because we wanted to see which cities around the world are tackling the problem of air pollution, while making it safe for their citizens to get from A to B without having to risk their health doing so.”
Safety. The safety of each location was determined by car accident fatality rate as well as the results of a survey on incidents of road rage in order to understand the aggressiveness and general driving culture of the city drivers.

Costs. The price of combustibles and annual road tax paid in each location, and the purchase of parity of each country, were used to determine the affordability of driving for each city.

The final index combines a total of 15 factors to reveal the best and worst cities for car owners to drive in across the world.

The Results

Overall, Canada is the big winner and India, well, is not. Calgary, Canada was ranked the best city for drivers in the world and Mumbai, India was ranked worst. Of the top ten best cities to drive in, Canada is home to three of them. Of the worst ten, India is home to two.

The top ten best cities for drivers are the following, respectively: Calgary, Canada; Dubai, UAE; Ottawa, Canada; Bern, Switzerland; El Paso, USA; Vancouver, Canada; Gothenburg, Sweden; Dusseldorf, Germany; Basel, Switzerland; and Dortmund, Germany.

The top worst cities for drivers are the following, from 100 to 91: Mumbai, India; Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia; Kolkata, India; Lagos, Nigeria; Karachi, Pakistan; Bogota, Columbia; Sao Paulo, Brazil; Mexico City, Mexico; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Moscow, Russia.

Of the 100 cities, 15 American cities made the list. El Paso, Texas ranked 5th in the world in terms of one of the best places to drive, but New York, New York was all the way at 87th. Below is the ranking of U.S. cities from the study.

[show US ranking image]

Because the study also divided the rankings into categories of cost, safety, and infrastructure, the results also break down the best and worst global cities in these divisions. To see where your city ranks in relation to each of these factors, and to see other top and bottom rankings in these categories, refer to the landing page.

The most expensive city is Sydney, and the least expensive is Mumbai.  

The most affordable city for parking is Singapore, and the least affordable is Ulaanbaatar.

The city with the most affordable petrol cost is Boston, and the least affordable is Ulaanbaatar.

The city with the most incidents of road rage was Ulaanbaatar, and the least incidents are in Osaka.

The city with the highest fatality rate/100,000 inhabitants is Lagos, and the lowest rate is in Manchester.

The city with the highest air quality is Brisbane, and the lowest is Beijing.

The city with the most cars per capita is Athens, and the lowest is Tel Aviv.

The cities with the best daily average congestion score are Malmo and El Paso, and the worst is Mumbai.

The cities with the best road quality score are Geneva, Zurich, and Basel, and the worst is Rio de Janeiro.

The city with the best public transportation score is New York, and the worst is El Paso.

This study sheds light on the wellbeing of drivers around the world given a number of environmental, cultural, and economic factors. While technology is continuing to advance in the transportation sector, cars are still the most widely-used form of transportation. There is still a lot to be done towards making driving safer, greener, and affordable everywhere.

“Despite advances in the accessibility of transportation, cars remain the most commonly used mode of transport in the world. Whether running on fuel or electric power, cities will continue to have to make adjustments so that they can accommodate the flow of vehicles,” comments Sébastien Rohart, Managing Director of Mister Auto. “Our study shows that while many cities already have the infrastructure and legislation in place, there’s still a lot of work to be done towards making driving safe and affordable across the board.”

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