Sitting in traffic sucks, but in some places, there's no way around it. Those places know who they are, and although Sao Paolo's traffic probably isn't as bad as Mexico City or places in China, it can alter the course of peoples' lives.
For starters, they have a special radio station dedicated entirely to reporting the city's traffic conditions. Fabiana Crespo told the BBC that she has to drive from one end of the city to the other to get to work. She spends nearly four hours per day in her car.
Crespo even met her husband in a traffic jam. They were stuck next to each other, so he rolled down the window and started flirting with her. He got her number and the rest is history. They have a 10-month-old named Rodrigo now. This kind of reminds me of how I spent half of my childhood sitting in traffic on or around Washington, D.C.'s Beltway. Ask me how many bricks there are on the rear façade of the Washington Post's distribution center in Springfield, Va. (I don't really know the answer to that, but I did spend a lot of time staring at it).
Sao Paulo's traffic engineers have worked out that on a normal day, the city's bumper-to-bumper misery stretches 112 miles. On a bad day, it can be as much as 183 miles. That's a scale only the Chinese can fathom.
Although some American cities have pretty horrible traffic, Americans have had the benefit of seeing the automotive industry evolve alongside some of out biggest cities. Imagine an already packed city in Brazil or China seeing an explosion in car ownership as more people join the middle class. Sounds like a gridlock nightmare to me.
Photo credit: Associated Press; BBC