U.S. cities dominate the world's top 10 most-traffic-congested urban areas, with Los Angeles leading in mind-numbing and costly gridlock, according to a new report issued Tuesday. La La Land, with its jam-packed freeways and driving culture despite ...
Kevin McCoy, USA TODAY Published 12:03 a.m. ET Feb. 6, 2018 | Updated 7:27 a.m. ET Feb. 6, 2018
If you think your commute is bad, these cities have it way worse with some of the worst traffic in the world. USA TODAY
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U.S. cities dominate the world's top 10 most-traffic-congested urban areas, with Los Angeles leading in mind-numbing and costly gridlock, according to a new report issued Tuesday.
La La Land, with its jam-packed freeways and driving culture despite billions being poured into rail transit, emerged from the 1,360 other cities in 38 countries to claim the worst-congestion title for the sixth consecutive year in the 2017 traffic scorecard by INRIX, a leader in transportation analytics and connected car services.
Drivers in and around the City of the Angels spent 102 hours battling 2017 traffic congestion during peak hours, INRIX's 11th annual report said.
Despite having the worst traffic congestion overall, Los Angeles had lower peak period tie-ups than San Francisco, Seattle, Boston and Portland, the INRIX study showed. Nighttime travel is also a bright spot, with Los Angeles city streets ranking better than 35 other cities.
As horrible as L.A. traffic can be, the driving experience in four other U.S. cities isn't much better, with all finishing in the Top 10 of worst traffic tie-ups:
File photo taken in 2009 shows overpasses of New York City's Cross Bronx Expressway, the nation's worst congested traffic corridor.
(Photo: Todd Plitt, USA TODAY)
•New York City. Motorists spent 91 hours battling peak hour gridlock. Overall congestion speeds are 7.4 miles per hour, compared with 9.9 miles per hour in Los Angeles and 10.5 miles per hour in San Francisco. However, the city's peak congestion rates on highways are lower than those in the two California cities.
File photo taken in July 2015 shows Interstate 80 traffic in San Francisco.
(Photo: Justin Sullivan, Getty Images)
•San Francisco. With an average of 79 hours of congestion, the City by the Bay is tied with Boston for the highest-congestion rates on arterial and city streets during peak commute hours. However, San Francisco highways fare better in the peak period than Seattle, Boston, Portland, Los Angeles and six other cities.
•Atlanta. No Southern charm when it comes to an average of 70 hours of bumper-to-bumper traffic.
•Miami. Despite being known as a laid-back tourist destination, Miami motorists endure 64 hours of traffic congestion.
"Congestion is an enormous problem and an enormous cost," Graham Cookson, the chief economist of INRIX, said in a telephone interview. The new report "puts some real numbers to the size of that cost."
Beyond frayed nerves, traffic congestion cost U.S. motorists nearly $305 billion in 2017, an average of $1,445 per driver, the study found. The estimated totals tally direct costs, such as the value of time spent in traffic and payments for extra fuel, plus indirect costs, including higher delivery spending for goods and services that companies pass along to customers.
New York City motorists fared the worst among the nation's urban areas. They racked up $2,982 in direct and indirect costs per driver during 2017, the report found. The city as a whole faced an estimated $19.2 billion in total costs, the report said.
New York City's Cross Bronx Expressway ranked as the nation's most traffic-jammed corridor for the third year in a row. An average driver on the 4.7-mile eastbound stretch of the route that might more aptly be dubbed a Distressway spent 118 hours battling congestion last year, up 37% from 2016, the study showed.
Based on the overall findings, the U.S. ranked as the most traffic-congested developed nation in the world, with American drivers spending an average of 41 hours a year battling traffic during peak travel times of 6 a.m. to 9 a.m., and 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.
More: La-La Land has the world's worst traffic congestion
Drivers spend an average of 17 hours a year searching for parking spots
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A new report from the Royal Society for Public Health shows longer commutes are linked to more stress, higher blood pressure, and an increased body mass index because of reduced physical inactivity. Buzz 60 Buzz60
Thailand topped the global breakdown with drivers in the Southeast Asian nation spending an average of 56 hours in peak-hour congestion. Other countries in the top five include Indonesia (51 hours), Colombia (49 hours), and Venezuela (42 hours)
A few U.S. cities got some good news. Traffic congestion rates actually fell in the Texas municipalities of El Paso (-13%), Austin (-9%) and Dallas (-9%), the report found.
This aerial photo taken in Sept. 2016 shows the Horseshoe highway project construction in Dallas.
(Photo: Ashley Landis, via AP)
In Dallas, INRIX noted that 18 miles of new TEXpress Lanes opened in May 2017 on the Interstate 35E corridor that connects Dallas and Denton counties. The lanes carry traffic south toward Dallas in the morning and then north toward Denton in the afternoon.
Additionally, the Dallas Horseshoe, a construction project where Interstates 30 and 35 meet, began providing relief last summer, INRIX said.
INRIX said it calculated the results by combining anonymous, real-time global positioning system probe data from 300 million connected cars and devices with real-time traffic flow data and other criteria, such as construction and road closures.
Follow USA TODAY reporter Kevin McCoy on Twitter: @kmccoynyc
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