In city traffic, the corona crisis led to unprecedented ups and downs on the streets, which the American traffic data provider Inrix measured more precisely in 1000 cities around the world.

It is noticeable for the German cities that, in contrast to many other countries, car traffic has returned to the city centers.

Tobias Piller

Editor in business.

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Compared to the time before the lockdown, in February 2020, by April 2020 trips to the city center in Berlin had decreased by 52 percent, in Hamburg by 60 percent, in Frankfurt by 62 percent and in Munich and Cologne by as much as 65 percent. By September 2020, the trips to the city center in Munich were back to the value before the Corona crisis.

In the other major cities measured, they were only 8 to 14 percent below the values ​​before the crisis.

Another deep crash followed in February 2021.

Between 32 and 44 percent fewer trips to the city center were measured.

The data from October of this year are unusual in an international comparison.

According to the traffic data experts from Inrix, the number of trips to the city center in Frankfurt has returned to the level of February 2020.

In Berlin, Cologne and Hamburg the values ​​are only 3 to 5 percent below those from the time before the lockdown, in Munich even 15 percent higher than in February 2020.

The longest traffic jams in Munich

The estimates of the time lost in traffic jams developed accordingly. American traffic experts calculate that an average of 40 hours were lost in traffic jams in 2021. The value of 2021 is 6 hours below the average of 2019, but 14 hours higher than the value of 2020.

In a comparison of the German cities, Munich remains the city where most of the time is lost in traffic jams. In 2021, the time lost averaged 79 hours, after 65 hours in the Corona year 2020 and 87 hours in 2019. Germany's route, where the most time was lost in absolute terms, is the northern section of the Middle Ring. Berlin is the city with the second largest loss of time due to traffic jams. In 2021 it was an average of 65 hours, and thus almost as many as in 2019, again significantly more than the 46 hours in 2020.

Hamburg, Cologne and Düsseldorf follow in the ranking of the most congested cities in 2021, with an average loss of 47, 42 and 43 hours. It is noticeable that the time lost due to traffic jams in Potsdam, Dresden and Leipzig has risen sharply compared to 2019. An average time loss of 40 to 46 hours was calculated for the three cities, between a fifth and a third more than in 2019. The explanation is that construction sites on important routes could have contributed to additional delays.

It was noted that in general in 2020, in the first year of the corona crisis, bicycles were used more, not necessarily to go to work, but rather for leisure activities.

Because in 2020 in particular, extensive use of the home office led to significantly less commuting.

Whether additional traffic jams arose in autumn 2021 because some cities narrowed the streets in 2020 and introduced additional bike lanes for them cannot be answered with the data from Inrix.

London leads the negative international ranking

In an international comparison, London is the city hardest hit by traffic jams.

The traffic experts at Inrix have determined an average time loss of 148 hours in 2021.

Paris (140 hours), Brussels (134 hours), Moscow (108 hours) and New York (102 hours) follow in the ranking.

The worst congestion city of 2019, Bogota, slipped to eighth place in 2021 because the time lost there due to traffic jams has halved to 94 hours by 2021.

Munich ranks 24th in the international ranking.

In 2020, Munich was still in 42nd place internationally as the German city with the most traffic jam losses.

In the unusual years of the Corona crisis, the use of cars and other means of transport depends on many factors that are usually not recorded, according to the American study.

In the American capital Washington, the vaccination rate is 70 percent, but traffic has not returned to the previous conditions and lost time in traffic jams.

In London, on the other hand, with a vaccination rate of 60 percent, traffic can be observed again, as in the times before the corona virus.