Traffic at the I-10 & I-405 interchange in Los Angeles, California (by Mario Roberto Duran Ortiz)Enlarge Photo
If you live in a major metropolitan area, you know that traffic snarls are a way of life. You can either rail at the heavens as you putter from Point A to Point B, or you can close your eyes (only at a standstill, please) and think of England. Well, maybe not London, where traffic is terrible, but someplace in the country would be fine.
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Of course, some spots are worse than others for traffic congestion, and to prove it, TomTom has released detailed rankings for cities around the globe. To create those rankings, TomTom employed the same gadgets that provide travel information to TomTom's well-known in-dash and dashtop devices, collecting anonymous statistics on where and when traffic flow is heaviest, and how long drivers sit on congested roads.
Though TomTom's rankings are slightly different from others we've seen (like those from Google Maps), there aren't any major surprises. As in similar studies, coastal cities dominate TomTom's most-congested list, with the West Coast faring much worse than the East.
And so, without further ado, this year's most congested cities are:
1. Los Angeles, CA
2. San Francisco, CA
3. Honolulu, HI
4. Seattle, WA
5. San Jose, CA
6. Washington, DC
7. New York, NY
8. Portland, OR
9. Boston, MA
10. Chicago, IL
On average, TomTom says that motorists around the globe spend 64 hours stuck in traffic each year, or about eight eight-hour work days. In Los Angeles, that figure jumps to a whopping 92 hours, or 11.5 work days.
However, Los Angeles isn't the worst city for traffic. In the western hemisphere alone, LA doesn't even earn a bronze medal, coming in fourth behind Sao Paolo, Mexico City, and the #1, Rio de Janeiro.
In fact, during peak travel times in Rio, 59 minutes of every hour are lost to traffic. In other words, motorists spend one hour traveling the same distance that would take them one minute if the roads were clear. Residents lose 114 hours ever year to traffic congestion.
LA looks pretty good by comparison: there, drivers just waste 39 minutes per hour on traffic.
Want to see how your city of over 800,000 stacks up? You can check TomTom's full western hemisphere report here (PDF).