Approximately 2.6 million cars choke the streets of the greater Athens-Piraeus agglomeration, marking the onset of what could be the Greek capital’s most challenging period for traffic, namely, from mid-May to mid-June. Patience becomes a driver’s best friend for the next couple of months as the urban sprawl gears up for the peak tourist season. Tourist coaches flood the central streets, ferrying visitors, while trucks hustle to supply businesses. The traffic surge remains relentless, especially with schools still in session.

In the northern suburb of Agia Paraskevi, a commuter’s saga unfolds daily as a commuter spends roughly 50 hours per month behind the wheel driving to and from work in the port city Piraeus. Fifty minutes each way, a 100 minutes a day, six days a week—add to that the demands of family and household chores, and the tally reaches at least 50 hours of car time.

Traffic management expert Kimon Logothetis delves into the root causes of the gridlock. April’s first 10 days heralded significant congestion on the city’s main thoroughfares. Tourist influx and rampant illegal parking exacerbate the situation—wherever you look, the right lane doubles as a parking lot, trapping vehicles and hindering traffic flow.

Addressing these challenges, Logothetis emphasizes the urgency for central axis maintenance, highlighting asphalt upkeep and modernizing safety measures. At critical intersections like Kifisos and Athinon Avenue, where accidents are daily, safety enhancements are imperative. Moreover, bolstering parking infrastructure, especially for tourist buses, is essential. Meanwhile, revising environmental criteria for the city center’s traffic restrictions could offer relief.

Amidst these concerns, a ray of hope emerges in the form of AI-powered traffic lights. Unlike conventional traffic lights, these intelligent signals adapt in real-time to current traffic conditions, promising a smoother journey ahead. Until then, however, commuters—whether behind the wheel or navigating with mobility aids—brace themselves for the daily grind, hoping for a more efficient and stress-free commute in the future.