New research suggests Calgary has the fifth-worst traffic gridlock in Canada behind Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa.

During peak periods there is a 27-minute delay per hour on Calgary roadways, according to the report released Tuesday by Dutch GPS technology firm TomTom.

The data in the TomTom Americas Traffic Index doesn't surprise Doug Saul, who tries to avoid downtown Calgary as much as he can.

"I put a bicycle in the back, then park at an area that is easy to get in and out of, and the bike gets me close to where I need to go, in a pleasurable way,” he said.

The index, which examined commuting times in cities across the Americas, ranked Calgary’s congestion at 22 per cent overall.

Rio de Janeiro most congested

That compares to 55 per cent in Rio de Janeiro, which topped the list of 63 cities.

Vancouver and Toronto are listed as the third and ninth most congested cities in the Americas, respectively. Calgary came in at 25th spot, just behind Montreal at 12 and Ottawa at 17.

The report says during the morning commute, Tuesdays are usually the slowest in Calgary. The afternoon rush is worst on Thursday and Friday.

A Calgary driver who makes a daily 30-minute commute can expect an accumulated delay of 71 hours over one year, the report said.

Lina Kattan, a transportation systems professor at the University of Calgary, said the city’s congestion is getting worse as the population increases.

Sustainable alternatives needed

Ultimately, people will have to start leaving the car at home, she said.

"If you look at the cars, most of the time there is one driver in the car, so the occupancy is very, very low,” she said.

“So ultimately, the long-term solution is to provide some alternatives that are sustainable, such as the active modes like walking, biking and transit."

It usually takes Gord Hira about 35 minutes to drive into Calgary from out of town.

But after a crash during the morning commute on Tuesday, it ended up taking him an hour and 20 minutes, he said.

"Deerfoot was backed up, gridlock, backed up north, well out of the city,” he said. "It was incredibly slow."