Special Report

10 Cities With the Worst Traffic

7. Seattle, WA
> Annual hours lost per commuter:
> Total annual hours of delay: 139.8 million
> Annual cost per commuter: $1,491
> Total congestion cost: $3.3 billion

While rush hour traffic is bad in all large American cities, it is especially bad in Seattle. Drivers in the city spend an additional 63 hours behind the wheel every year due to congestion. The average driver buys 28 extra gallons of fuel annually due to lost fuel efficiency from slow travel speeds in traffic. Additional fuel and lost productivity cost Seattle $1,491 per commuter a year. With a Travel Time Index of 1.38, it takes a Seattle driver over 41 minutes in peak hours to travel what would take 30 minutes without traffic.

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6. Boston, MA-NH-RI
> Annual hours lost per commuter:
> Total annual hours of delay: 154.0 million
> Annual cost per commuter: $1,388
> Total congestion cost: $3.4 billion

Spanning three states in New England, the Boston urban area has some of the worst traffic congestion in the country. Congestion cost the capital of Massachusetts $1,388 per driver a year in lost productivity and added fuel costs due to traffic. In addition to the high monetary costs, area commuters spend an additional 64 hours behind the wheel every year on average. Drivers in only five other U.S. cities lose more time to congestion than Bostonians.

5. San Jose, CA
> Annual hours lost per commuter:
> Total annual hours of delay: 104.6 million
> Annual cost per commuter: $1,422
> Total congestion cost: $2.2 billion

San Jose is one of only two highly congested urban areas with population of less than 3 million. Even with a smaller population, San Jose’s travel index of 1.38 is tied for third highest in the country and higher than the average index of 1.32 for urban areas with over 3 million people,which tend to have worse traffic than smaller urban areas. According to the area’s travel index, a distance that would only take a driver 20 minutes to travel with no congestion takes nearly 28 minutes during peak travel hours. Congestion on the area’s roadways cost drivers and the city a collective $2.2 billion annually in both fuel costs and lost productivity.

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4. New York-Newark, NY-NJ-CT
> Annual hours lost per commuter:
> Total annual hours of delay: 628.2 million
> Annual cost per commuter: $1,739
> Total congestion cost: $14.7 billion

The New York urban area is the most populous in the nation, and is home to over 19 million people. Partially as a result, both delays due to traffic and congestion costs are highest in the country. Auto commuters lose more than 628 million hours to delays each year, costing roughly $14.7 billion, the highest added driving time and the most costly traffic system among U.S. cities. Four of the nation’s 20 most congested stretches of road are in the New York City area, including the northbound I-678, and both directions of I-495.

Most New York residents choose to avoid traffic. Just over 27% of the area’s population commutes by car, the lowest share among the 101 cities the TTI reviewed. And 32.6% of workers use public transit, the largest share nationwide.

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