Drivers spent 8 billion hours in traffic last year. Learn why your drive time to work is probably getting longer.
American commuters collectively spent 8 billion hours stuck in traffic last year, a new analysis shows.
The improving economy is partly to blame for the worsening traffic conditions, according to INRIX, a Washington-state-based company that provides transportation analytics for entities like government agencies.
Urbanization continues to drive increased congestion in many major cities worldwide. Strong economies, population growth, higher employment rates and declining gas prices have resulted in more drivers on the road — and more time wasted in traffic.
For the latest scorecard, INRIX examined traffic conditions in the United States and roughly a dozen European countries.
Congestion was worst in the U.S., with the average commuter spending nearly 50 hours in traffic over the course of the year. In Europe, Belgium saw the worst congestion, with the average commuter spending 44 hours in traffic.
At a city level, half of the 10 worst metropolitan areas for congestion — including four of the worst five — are located in the U.S.:
- London (101 hours of delay annually per commuter)
- Los Angeles (81 hours)
- Washington, D.C. (75 hours)
- San Francisco (75 hours)
- Houston (74 hours)
- New York (73 hours)
- Stuttgart, Germany (73 hours)
- Antwerp, Belgium (71 hours)
- Cologne, Germany (71 hours)
- Brussels (70 hours)
Within the U.S., the 10 worst cities for congestion last year were:
- Los Angeles
- Washington, D.C.
- San Francisco
- New York
- Seattle (66 hours)
- Boston (64 hours)
- Chicago (60 hours)
- Atlanta, (59 hours)
- Honolulu (49 hours)
INRIX’s findings are similar to those from an analysis by real estate data website Trulia earlier this month.
Trulia examined commute length rather than congestion delay length, but the cities it identified as having the longest commutes include many of the same cities INRIX identified has having the worst congestion delays:
- New York City (average commute is 34.7 minutes)
- Long Island, New York (33 minutes)
- Washington, D.C. (32.8 minutes)
- Newark, New Jersey (31.1 minutes)
- Chicago, (30.8 minutes)
- Boston (30.4 minutes)
- Oakland, California (29.9 minutes)
- Riverside-San Bernardino, California (29.8 minutes)
- Baltimore, Maryland (29.4 minutes)
- Atlanta (29.2 minutes)
How does your commute compare with the country’s worst? Share your thoughts below or on Facebook.