Special Report

10 Cities With the Worst Traffic

10. Riverside-San Bernardino, CA
> Annual hours lost per commuter:
> Total annual hours of delay: 99.1 million
> Annual cost per commuter: $1,316
> Total congestion cost: $2.2 billion

The Riverside urban area trails just nine other traffic-plagued urban regions, with the average commuter delayed 59 hours each year. This exceeded the average yearly delay of 45 hours for cities with between 1 million and 3 million residents. While many residents of large cities — especially cities with the worst traffic — rely on public transportation to avoid traffic congestion, this is not the case in Riverside. The more than 1 million Riverside commuters who drive make up over half of all area residents. Periods of peak congestion vary considerably across large urban areas. The area’s daily rush hour extends to about 6.8 hours per day, second only to Los Angeles. The average cost of gas in the Riverside area was among the highest in the nation, further exacerbating the cost associated with traffic in the area.

9. Houston, TX
> Annual hours lost per commuter:
> Total annual hours of delay: 203.2 million
> Annual cost per commuter: $1,490
> Total congestion cost: $4.9 billion

Commuters in Houston not only face the worst traffic in Texas, but also some of the worst traffic in the country. Only three cities in the United States have a higher total monetary congestion cost than Houston. The heavy traffic cost drivers and the local economy $4.9 billion in added fuel costs and lost productivity due to delays. Not only is the congestion expensive, but also daily commuters in Texas’s largest city spend an additional 61 hours in their cars every year — nearly 10 more hours than what Houston commuters faced in 2011.

8. Chicago, IL-IN
> Annual hours lost per commuter:
> Total annual hours of delay: 302.6 million
> Annual cost per commuter: $1,445
> Total congestion cost: $7.2 billion

Roughly 8.7 million people live in the Chicago urban area, a larger population than all but two other U.S. urban regions. Nearly 3.5 million people drive to work. Five of the 20 most congested stretches of U.S. road are in the Chicago area, including I-90 and both the east and westbound I-94. Congestion is very costly for the city’s residents and its government. Because of travel disruptions such as accidents, weather, and other unpredictable events, drivers spend an additional 61 hours driving in the area. The delays cost just under $1,500 per driver, well above the nationwide average of $960 per-commuter.

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