Special Report

American Cities Losing the Most Time to Traffic Congestion

Traffic congestion is a real quality of life concern. It means time wasted for drivers and passengers, clogged streets and roads in neighborhoods and cities, missed meetings and flights, and a decline in air quality. 

To identify the 25 U.S. Cities losing the most time to traffic congestion, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the 2020 INRIX Global Traffic Scorecard. INRIX, which provides location-based data and analytics, ranked cities based on GPS data that evaluated the additional time spent commuting due to traffic congestion throughout 2020.

Perhaps not surprisingly, New York City tops our list, with an average 100 hours lost to traffic per driver in 2020. That’s four whole days, when people could have been doing something more productive than simply sitting in the car, on their way to work, shopping, trying to catch a flight from LaGuardia Airport or get out of the Lincoln Tunnel. 

The economic costs are enormous: an average of $1,486 per driver, for a total of $7.7 billion. The former figure is more than the per capita gross domestic product of many countries. (Considering more than congestion, this is the worst city to drive in every state.)

Other cities in the East fare poorly as well. Drivers in Philadelphia lost an average 94 hours in 2020, while those in Boston lost 48. Perhaps surprisingly, drivers lost only 45 hours in Los Angeles, a city synonymous with freeways and driving everywhere. 

Traffic congestion is even a problem in small cities generally regarded as having a good quality of life, such as Portland, Maine. There’s trouble in paradise too: Drivers in Kaneohe, Hawaii, lost an average 29 hours. Of course, this is not just a U.S. problem. Here are the world’s worst cities for traffic.

Click here to see U.S. cities losing the most time to traffic congestion

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