Israel’s Biggest Problem? Endless Traffic, Say Majority

A typical scene on the Ayalon Highway in Tel Aviv. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)

Israelis are worried about the country’s security situation – but a new poll shows that they are a lot more worried about the country’s traffic problems. The poll, conducted on behalf of navigation application Waze, showed that 37 percent of Israelis considered security as the country’s biggest problem – but that 68 percent saw traffic as the problem that concerns them most.

The poll’s objective was to quantify Israelis’ feelings on the often heavy traffic they face commuting to and from work, shopping, and recreational activities. The poll found that 80% of drivers saw traffic as an “overriding issue” that often dictated how long they stayed at the office, when they left in the morning and when they came home, and other scheduling matters. Two out of every three drivers leave early to beat traffic – and the same number stay later than they would prefer, to avoid tie-ups on the commute home.

Three quarters say that they often arrive either at work or at home exhausted – unmotivated, nervous, and jumpy, after having sat in traffic for an hour or more. One third said they had postponed or cancelled a meeting or missed a business opportunity in the past month because of fears they would have to face traffic. 83 percent said that traffic issues impact negatively on time they could be spending with their families. And, 68 percent said their biggest fear was falling victim to road rage, due to the dangerous actions of other drivers.

“Roads are getting more and more crowded, but this is not just an Israeli problem,” said Guy Berkowitz, operations manager for Waze. “Expansion of infrastructure is not keeping pace with the growth in the number of vehicles on the roads. The poll shows that traffic issues are a social, economic, and personal problem for many people that will just get worse before it gets better. We believe that the fastest and best way to deal with this issue is to limit the number of vehicles on the road,” he added.

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