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This paper presents a class of routing protocols called road-based using vehicular traffic (RBVT) routing, which outperforms existing routing protocols in city-based vehicular ad hoc networks (VANETs). RBVT protocols leverage real-time vehicular traffic information to create road-based paths consisting of successions of road intersections that have, with high probability, network connectivity among them. Geographical forwarding is used to transfer packets between intersections on the path, reducing the path's sensitivity to individual node movements. For dense networks with high contention, we optimize the forwarding using a distributed receiver-based election of next hops based on a multicriterion prioritization function that takes nonuniform radio propagation into account. We designed and implemented a reactive protocol RBVT-R and a proactive protocol RBVT-P and compared them with protocols representative of mobile ad hoc networks and VANETs. Simulation results in urban settings show that RBVT-R performs best in terms of average delivery rate, with up to a 40% increase compared with some existing protocols. In terms of average delay, RBVT-P performs best, with as much as an 85% decrease compared with the other protocols.