Tale of 10 Cities: Worst Traffic Congestion In U.S.

March 29, 2011

Stewing and fuming, stuck in gridlock on American highways and wondering if there’s any way out of this mess? If you’re in the top 10 U.S. cities for traffic congestion, better learn some Zen meditation, choose different commute times, telecommute – or move to less congested metropolitan areas. The latest study from INRIX – the INRIX National Traffic Scorecard 2010 Annual Report – reveals just how jammed up America’s cities are.

Nope, there aren’t any major surprises. We’re pretty much as congested as we were in 2009. The major players (cities) are the same, although four switched places in the rankings in 2010.

Here’s a look at the 10 U.S. cities that have the worst traffic congestion:

Los Angeles – The City of Angels, number two in terms of population, with 12.9 million, Los Angeles is at the top of the list of worst U.S. traffic-congested cities. Average trip took 71 percent longer than normal, and the worst traffic day/time is Thursday at 5:30 p.m. Also of note, the second, third, and fifth worst traffic corridors are in the greater Los Angeles area. Worst of all is when traffic comes to an absolute stand-still due to an accident -- an all-too frequent occurrence in Los Angeles and environs.

New York – The most populated city, with 19 million, New York retains its second-place rank in worst traffic congestion in the U.S. Worst congestion occurred on Friday at 5:15 p.m., and average trip takes 47 percent longer than usual. The Big Apple also recorded the worst traffic corridor in 2010, an 11-mile stretch of I-95 SB.

Chicago Traffic congestion in the Windy City, Chicago, is worst on Friday at 5:15 p.m., while the average trip time takes 41 percent longer than normal. Chicago is number three in terms of population with 9.6 million. The city also had the fourth-worst traffic corridor last year, a 16-mile stretch of I-90/I-94 EB.

Washington, D.C. – The nation’s capitol city of Washington, D.C., with a population of 5.5 million (eighth largest U.S. city population), ranks number four on the worst congested cities for 2010 list. Average trip time took 51 percent longer than normal. Worst traffic congestion occurred on Thursday at 5:30 p.m.

Dallas/Fort Worth – With a population of 6.5 million (fourth among U.S. cities), Dallas/Fort Worth is number five on the most-congested cities list. Average trip time is 36 percent longer than normal, while worst traffic congestion is on Friday at 5:15 p.m.

San Francisco – Drivers contending with traffic in San Francisco face average trip time that’s 63 percent longer than normal. With a 4.3 million population (13th largest among the U.S. cities on the list), the worst day/time to be on the roads there is Thursday at 5:30 p.m.

Houston – Sixth largest in population size with 5.9 million, Houston is number seven on the list of worst-congested U.S. cities in 2010. Anyone on the roads on Friday at 5:15 p.m. knows how bad it can get, although average trip time is only 33 percent longer than normal.

Boston – Number 10 in terms of population (at 4.6 million), Boston ranks number eight in worst-congested cities in the U.S. in 2010. Like Houston, average trip time is 33 percent longer than normal and the worst day/time is also Friday, but 15 minutes later, at 5:30 p.m.

Philadelphia – The City of Brotherly Love, fifth largest in population (with 5.97 million), has average trip time 29 percent longer than normal – the lowest among the top 10 worst-congested U.S. cities. Worst day/time of congestion in Philadelphia is Friday at 5:15 p.m.

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