5 U.S. Cities Rank Among World’s Most Traffic-Congested Areas

February 7, 2018

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Photo via Haljackey/Wikimedia.
Photo via Haljackey/Wikimedia.

For the sixth consecutive year, Los Angeles topped the list of the world’s most gridlocked cities, with drivers spending 102 hours in congestion in 2017 during peak time periods, according to the annual INRIX Global Traffic Scorecard.

The U.S. accounted for five of the Top 10 cities worldwide with the worst traffic congestion. In addition to Los Angeles, New York City tied with Moscow for second place with 91 hours in congestion, San Francisco (79 hours) ranked fifth, Atlanta (70 hours) ranked eighth, and Miami (64 hours) ranked tenth.

INRIX analyzed 1,360 cities across 38 countries. Based on the findings, the U.S. ranked as the most congested developed country in the world, with drivers spending an average of 41 hours a year in traffic during peak hours. The report concludes that congestion costs drivers nearly $305 billion in 2017, an average of $1,445 per driver.

While the economic impact is one issue, gridlock can also have a major impact on road safety. Experts have long known that frayed nerves from sitting in hours of congestion can lead to aggressive behavior.

A study published in 2016 by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that 78% of U.S. drivers reported having engaged in at least one aggressive driving behavior during the past year. The most common behaviors included: Intentionally tailgating another vehicle (50.8%); yelling at another driver (46.6%); and honking the horn “to show annoyance or anger” (44.5%). The study suggests that underlying issues in the driving environment, such as congestion, can contribute to aggressive driving.

However, the new data from INRIX implies that traffic congestion across the country is unlikely to clear up anytime soon. Additional noteworthy facts from the report include:

New York’s Cross Bronx Expressway topped the list as the U.S.’s worst corridor for the third year in a row, with the average driver wasting 118 hours per year

Commuters within Boston and San Francisco had the highest U.S. congestion rates on arterial and city streets during the peak commute hours (23 percent)

The worst downtown slowdowns were in El Paso, Texas, where speeds dropped from 43 mph at free flow speeds to 5 mph when congested

New York businesses suffered the most from congestion with an average of 14 percent of travel time on weekdays in gridlock and where drivers wasted the most daytime hours stuck in traffic in the entire U.S.

Santa Cruz, Calif., had the worst overall daytime congestion on arterial and highways, with drivers spending 12 percent of their days sitting in traffic. 

Read the full report here.

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