Special Report

10 Cities With the Worst Traffic

3. San Francisco-Oakland, CA
> Annual hours lost per commuter:
> Total annual hours of delay: 146.0 million
> Annual cost per commuter: $1,675
> Total congestion cost: $3.1 billion

California is home to four of the most congested urban areas in the country, including San Francisco-Oakland. Drivers in the Bay Area lose a collective 146 million hours annually to roadway congestion. Between fuel and lost productivity, roadway traffic costs the city and its drivers an additional $1,675 per driver every year. Perhaps as a result, over 18% of area commuters use public transportation to get to work, the second highest share in the country after New York. An additional 5.3% of Bay Area residents walk to work, the sixth highest share of the nation’s urban areas.

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2. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA
> Annual hours lost per commuter:
> Total annual hours of delay: 622.5 million
> Annual cost per commuter: $1,711
> Total congestion cost: $13.3 billion

US-101 south and northbound, and I-10 eastbound — all in the Los Angeles area — led the nation’s most congested corridors. Half of the 20 worst roads for traffic are in Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim. A typical Los Angeles area commuter spends an estimated additional 80 hours in traffic per year due to delays, slightly less than auto commuters in Washington D.C. However, traffic conditions are more unpredictable in the LA area, which may cause more stress even than in the D.C. area. The area’s traffic system is congested nearly eight hours during a typical day, the longest rush hour compared with other U.S. cities.

1. Washington DC-VA-MD
> Annual hours lost per commuter:
> Total annual hours of delay: 204.4 million
> Annual cost per commuter: $1,834
> Total congestion cost: $4.6 billion

Washington D.C. commuters waste more time in traffic than residents of any other city. A typical area commuter spends an additional 82 hours behind the wheel each year due to traffic delays. As in most traffic-plagued cities, drivers in the nation’s capital spent less than half that time in traffic in 1982. Like some other congested cities, the Washington D.C. area’s population also tends to use public transit. In 2013, 16.5% of workers used public transportation, the third highest share nationwide. Given the estimated annual costs of sitting in traffic, this is not particularly surprising. Excess fuel consumed and lost productivity due to congestion cost each commuter $1,834 per year on average, the highest such cost among all U.S. cities reviewed.

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