How many of us have attempted to travel around metro Los Angeles by car at 10:00 am or 2:00 pm, marveling at just how much traffic there is – “always and everywhere”?
If you suspect that LA has the worst traffic gridlock of any American metro area, you’d be absolutely correct.
And we have the data to prove it. INRIX, Inc., a transportation analytics firm, has released its newest annual “traffic scorecard” for 2017 that ranks the U.S. cities with the most traffic congestion.
The listing below shows the ten most “challenging” cities for commuters, ranked according to the average time wasted per commuter during 2017.
[“Wasted time” is defined as the amount of time spent in traffic above and beyond what would have been required had traffic been moving at the posted speed limits.]
#1. Los Angeles – 102 hours wasted per commuter in 2017 (average)
#2. New York – 91 hours wasted
#3. San Francisco – 79 hours
#4. Atlanta – 70 hours
#5. Miami – 64 hours
#6. Washington, DC – 63 hours
#7. Boston, MA – 60 hours
#8. Chicago, IL – 57 hours
#9. Seattle, WA – 55 hours
#10. Dallas, TX – 54 hours
Indeed, Los Angeles tops the list with more than 100 hours of time wasted in traffic. That’s the equivalent of two and a half work weeks. Ugh.
Several other cities clock in at exorbitant rates as well, although not as high as LA on the “time wasted” scale.
Having driven or been a vehicular passenger in 9 of these 10 cities, none of these figures comes as a surprise to me personally — although I might have placed DC and Boston above Miami and Atlanta based on my own personal experience.
How about you? Which cities rank as your “personal worst” traffic-wise? And are there any cities which you think should be in INRIX’s “worst of the worst” listing?
2 thoughts on “Where traffic is the most terrible …”
The same IMRIX study was actually conducted across five continents, so I thought it would be interesting to reveal how U.S. cities “stack up” globally.
I’ve included enough cities to represent all 5 continents. Here goes:
#1. Los Angeles (North America) – 102 hours
#2. Moscow (Europe) – 91 hours
#3. New York (North America) – 91 hours
#4. Sao Paulo (South America) – 86 hours
#5. San Francisco (North America) – 79 hours
#6. Bogota (South America) – 75 hours
#7. London (Europe) – 74 hours
#8. Atlanta (North America) – 70 hours
#9. Paris (Europe) – 69 hours
#10. Miami (North America) – 64 hours
#11. Bangkok (Asia) – 64 hours
#41. Cape Town (Africa) – 49 hours
Dallas, the “least challenging” of the top ten U.S. cities, “sits” at #22 on the global list. Other non-U.S. cities rounding out the top global 25 are Jakarta (#12, 63 hours), Istanbul (#15, 59 hours), Mexico City (#16, 58 hours), Medellin (#18, 57 hours), Krasnodar (#19, 57 hours), Saint Petersburg (#21, 54 hours), Zurich (#23, 51 hours), Rio de Janeiro (#24, 51 hours) and Munich (#25, 51 hours).
I can’t argue with Bangkok’s ranking but it’s worth noting that the IMRIX study doesn’t cover any cities in Australia, China, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia or the Philippines. If it did, based on personal experience I’d expect to see cities like Bangalore, Beijing, Delhi, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, Seoul, Shanghai and Tokyo in the top 25. Including them would probably knock some North American and European cities off their perches.
Similarly, the study doesn’t cover any African cities outside South Africa. Based again on personal experience, I’m sure Cairo would rank in the top 25.
Lastly, as a past resident, I can confirm that Los Angeles richly deserves its first-place rank.
I’m from Atlanta and have seen the traffic problem grow exponentially in the last 20 years.
It’s always been a little challenging because it’s so spread out. But it is a different place compared to when I left 25 years ago.
Its rapid increase in traffic volume has changed the culture for the worse. People just don’t even try to be on time anymore. Work start times seem to be a suggestion. Meeting someone for dinner now needs a 90-minute arrival window.
With 29 counties now making up metro Atlanta (that’s about half of the population of the whole state of Georgia) means that half the working people in Georgia are driving to or from Atlanta — all day long.
It’s the main reason I never moved back!