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The Worst Traffic In America? It's Not Los Angeles

Los Angeles might seem to be the nation's capital for gridlock, but according to Inrix, a provider of traffic data and information, the City Of Angels doesn't have the worst traffic in the United States.

Inrix says that the city of Honolulu wins that dubious honor, with drivers wasting 58 hours a year on average on congested roads.

The Inrix study shows that drivers in other major cities are still spending a fair number of hours stuck in traffic, too. While Los Angeles ranked a close second to Honolulu, those in San Francisco spent almost 48 additional hours in the car because of traffic.

The news wasn't all bad, though. Inrix says overall congestion was down 30 percent in 2011 from the year before, and notes that of the 100 cities it surveyed, 70 of them logged lower rates of congestion year over year.

These cities had the worst traffic in 2011, according to Inrix, which lists the average hours wasted per driver after each city:

(1)         Honolulu – 58 hours

(2)         Los Angeles – 56 hours

(3)         San Francisco – 48 hours

(4)         New York – 57 hours

(5)         Bridgeport, CT – 42 hours

(6)         Washington, D.C. – 45 hours

(7)         Seattle – 33 hours

(8)         Austin – 30 hours

(9)         Boston -  35 hours

(10)      Chicago – 32.8 hours

Note: the study rankings are not strictly according to hours wasted. Instead they're indexed to the duration of traffic over peak hours, which explains why some cities with more hours logged--New York--are ranked lower than cities like San Francisco.

The study also finds that, nationally, the worst morning commute occurs on Tuesday, while the worst evening commute is on Friday.

Inrix also says some of the worst traffic corridors in the country include the 405 freeway in Los Angeles, from the 105 to Getty Center; a 16-mile stretch of the Long Island Expressway in New York; and three miles of the Penn Lincoln Parkway in Pittsburgh.

For more information and complete results of the survey, see the Inrix report card and methodology.

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Comments (5)
  1. Kinda of strange that the picture that accompanies this article is of Miami

  2. Nate - Yes, I noticed that the editors chose a Miami shot. But, if you go to the Inrix site and check out the top cities on the list, Miami is #12, I believe. And anyone who's ever spent time driving in southern Florida knows how jammed up the freeways can get. Thanks for sharing.

  3. I lived near Miami/Homestead area for about a year and I can attest that at times it does feel like it should be #1 in the pole position. Drivers are rude and crude!

  4. Would love to know how they calculate the "wasted" time. 58 hours a year only comes up to just under 14 minutes per day - assuming 5 days per week, for 50 weeks.

    14 minutes of "wasted" time per day is nothing. I do that in my 15 mile (each way) commute, and I never even hit the highway.

    My way of calculating? If I drive from home to work on Saturday or Sunday, or even during "off-peak" times it only takes 20 minutes. During "peak" times it takes 45-60 minutes.

    To me that comes out to 50-80 minutes of "wasted" time each DAY. If I average that to say 60 minutes of "wasted" time, I end up with 250 "wasted" HOURS per YEAR. That's almost 10 1/2 DAYS of sitting in traffic.

    That would DOUBLE if I had to commute even further!

  5. Haywood - Your comment reminds me of a particularly nasty "corridor" on the 101-North heading out of Thousand Oaks toward Ventura and Santa Barbara -- on almost any day at 3-5 p.m., but doubly so on Friday-Sunday and quadruple that during the summer. Wait times for passing through what should be no more than a 10-minute stretch can approach 1-2 hours -- and that's just one section. Savvy drivers know to avoid peak hours or forego the trip until another time. This is an area where there aren't many alternate routes, except for local traffic.

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