Worst Jams Seen on Third Ring

MTTraffic backed up at the Savyolovskaya Overpass, which Yandex ranked the worst place to be during rush hour.
About 650 traffic jams occur daily in Moscow, and the mother of them all is the stretch on Sushchyovsky Val between the Savyolovskaya Overpass and Sheremetyevskaya Ulitsa, according to a new report.

In the first 120 days of 2007, drivers spent nearly 950 hours -- or 40 days -- sitting in traffic on the Sushchyovsky Val stretch of the Third Ring Road, said the report, released by the Yandex search engine and based on statistical data from Yandex Maps and SMI-Link gathered in 2006 and 2007.

Five of the top 10 areas to avoid during rush hour are on the Third Ring Road, mostly in the north, the report said.

"There is a shortage of connections between Moscow's districts," Pavel Goldin, director of SMI-Link, said Monday. "This is largely to blame for the traffic problem on the Third Ring Road."

Each of the 650 traffic jams that occur daily brings nearly 1,500 vehicles to a standstill, the report said. The average duration of a traffic jam is just over an hour. Taken together, traffic jams cost drivers nearly 11 hours per month of lost time.

On a typical weekday in Moscow, 200,000 to 350,000 vehicles are on the streets. The worst weekdays for drivers are Tuesday and Wednesday. The lightest weekday traffic is on Monday.

Traffic gets worse in winter than in summer, the report said. Five times last winter, traffic jams completely paralyzed the city. In four of these cases, heavy snowfall was the reason for the obstruction. The fifth was caused by the upcoming New Year celebration.

Since the 1990s, traffic jams have gradually become one of Moscow's most pressing problems. At the time of the 1991 Soviet collapse, the city's roads were equipped to handle about one-third of the number of cars now in Moscow.

Rating Section of Street Total Hours of Traffic Jams
(January – April 2007)
01Sushchyovsky Val from Savyolovskaya
Overpass to Sheremetyevskaya Ulitsa
02Begovaya Ulitsa from Khodynskaya Ulitsa
to Leningradsky Prospekt
03Sushchyovsky Val from Prospekt Mira to
Sheremetyevskaya Ulitsa
04Ulitsa Novaya Bashilovka and Nizhnyaya
Maslovka from Savyolovskaya Overpass
to Leningradsky Prospekt
05Leningradskoye Shosse from Kronshtadtsky
Bulvar to MKAD
06Novinsky Bulvar from Ulitsa Novy Arbat
to Smolenskaya-Sennaya Ploshchad
07MKAD from Rublyovskoye Shosse to
Molodogvardeiskaya Ulitsa
08Third Ring Road from Volgogradsky Prospekt
to Nizhegorodskaya Ulitsa
09MKAD from Ostashkovskoye Shosse
to Yaroslavskoye Shosse
10Valovaya Ulitsa from Novokuznetskaya Ulitsa
to Serpukhovskaya Ploshchad
Source: Yandex

That number continues to grow. Every year, 150,000 registered cars enter the already saturated city streets; it is unknown how many unregistered cars come, too.

The average car travels at just over 16 kilometers per hour inside the Garden Ring. Citywide, the average speed is close to 25 kilometers an hour.

"The number of roads in Moscow is not sufficient," Goldin said. "There are so many cars in Moscow. We need to increase the number of roads to accommodate them."

Maria Protsenko, spokeswoman for the Moscow city transportation department, said plans were in the works to construct new detectors and cameras to monitor traffic.