Aucklanders waste 20 days in traffic every year

AutoTrader NZ
Published 3 September 2020

For Kiwi drivers, results from this year’s TomTom Traffic Index are varied across all cities. Auckland retains its title as New Zealand’s most congested city, but Wellington is not far behind. Overall congestion worsened in both Auckland and Wellington, improved slightly in Hamilton and Christchurch, and was unchanged in Dunedin.

Auckland sits at 40th in the global traffic congestion ranking from a list of 295 cities around the world, and has the second highest traffic congestion in Australasia after Sydney. The most congested city in the world is Mexico City with an overall level of 59%.

Drivers in Auckland can expect to add 33% extra time to their travel at any time of the day, and almost 80% in the evening peak periods versus a free flow, or uncongested, situation – adding-up to 158 hours of extra travel time per year. That’s almost 20 working days added to a year when purely travelling in peak times.

Phil Allen, general manager, TomTom Licensing, SE Asia and Oceania, says while overall Auckland’s congestion is getting worse from 32% in 2014 to 33% in 2015, congestion in morning peak hour has eased by 3% in 2015, and congestion in evening peak has remained the same. This is due in part to a spread of the morning peak over a longer period, and more people using public transport.

Overall congestion in Wellington has also increased from 29% to 30% in 2015. Specifically, their morning peak hour congestion is one of the worst in the world at 75%, exceeding other big cities like Istanbul, Los Angeles, London and Sydney.

In Christchurch, the effect of the earthquakes on road infrastructure is a lasting one, impacting greatly on traffic congestion. There are early signs that congestion is improving, with both morning and evening peaks congestion easing this year by a 4% (48% to 44%) and 1% (53% to 52%) respectively. While overall congestion is improving, it still has a long way to go to reach pre-earthquake levels.

In Hamilton, overall congestion eased slightly from 22% to 21%. The morning peak congestion improved slightly from 36% to 35%, while the congestion in afternoon peak worsened from 38% to 40%.

In Dunedin, its good news for overall congestion, with the morning peak congestion remaining steady, and the afternoon peak congestion improving slightly.

Where are the bottlenecks?


  • SH1 northbound from Highbrook Drive to the junction with SH16
  • Hobson Street
  • SH1 southbound from Albany Expressway to (and including) the Auckland Harbour Bridge


  • Cable Street/Wakefield Street and Quays through to Aotea Quay/SH1
  • Vivian Street – SH1 through Hawkestone Street
  • Centennial Highway-SH1 between Newlands Road and point near Onslow Road/Hutt Road Junction next to SH1


  • SH 76 – Brougham Street between Barrington Street and Ensors Road
  • Blenheim Road – Moorhouse Avenue between Main South Road and Waltham Road
  • Main North Road – Papanui Road between Momorangi Crescent and Perry Street

Overall ranking of most congested cities in New Zealand and Australia in 2015:

  1. Sydney
  2. Auckland
  3. Wellington
  4. Melbourne
  5. Christchurch
  6. Brisbane
  7. Dunedin
  8. Hamilton

Ranking of the most congested cities globally in 2015:

  1. Mexico City
  2. Bangkok
  3. Istanbul
  4. Rio De Janeiro
  5. Moscow
  6. Bucharest
  7. Salvador
  8. Recife
  9. Chengdu
  10. Los Angeles