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Choking on Fumes – Worst Traffic Gridlock

I know, this is heresy. Writing a blog about driving? I mean, you don’t earn miles or points by just driving so who cares?

Well, I thought I would pass this along because: (a) many business travelers actually do drive for their work; (b) many leisure travelers pack up their cars for vacations and (c) many of us sit in traffic on our way to the airport. Besides, none of us travel all the time so this may have some other applications. INRIX released their annual survey of traffic congestion and some of the results are at least modestly surprising.

Worst U.S. city for traffic congestion is no surprise at all. Los Angeles – with a whopping 59 hours a year wasted in traffic – is a nightmare and not just during the horribly misnamed rush hour. A little more surprising was Honolulu, which actually dropped to number two. I don’t know, I have been there and yes, there was some nasty highway traffic but it seems difficult to compare that to LA. Perhaps the vacation aspect in Hawaii made it more tolerable. More surprising to me, Chicago did not even make the top ten. Try telling that to anyone sitting on the Kennedy “Expressway” in rush hour.

Overall, Europe fared much better. Over 85% of the cities surveyed showed an impressive decline in congestion. Well, it may not be impressive at all. According to INRIX, there may be correlation between traffic irritation and the economy. As the economy improves, so do the number of drivers. If that holds for EU as well, it bodes poorly for those across the pond.

Worst increase in traffic was “won” by Boston for their whopping 31% jump. Perhaps no surprise to the surveyors, Boston’s economy is actually healthier than the national average.

Surprising at least to me was that Tuesday was the worst morning traffic. Monday, of course, may be less because some take extended weekend trips but the survey doesn’t say how much worse Tuesday is than, say, Wednesday. Not surprising at all, the worst times for congestion are 8-9 am and 5-6 pm, with Friday evening the worst.

For more info or to find out how other cities placed, checked out INRIX’s website.

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  1. I travel by car frequently throughout the U.S. and Canada. If I had to pick my TOP 6 in the U.S. It would be

    Los Angeles
    San Francisco
    New York City

    Those are the six that I will drive miles out of the way in order to skirt the traffic. Although Chicago at 5 a.m. on a Sunday morning isn’t bad! I live in Northern Ohio and I will do anything to avoid traffic in Cinci although it probably wouldn’t bother most people but I hate the I-75 bridge over the Ohio river.

  2. I second that comment. DC is horrendous.

    My personal rankings are:
    Los Angeles
    Washington D.C.
    San Francisco (usually consider San Jose an extension)
    New York

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