The number of people working from home in the United States more than tripled during the pandemic. According to the Census Bureau, 27.6 million Americans worked primarily from home in 2021, up from just 9 million in 2019. While having a makeshift office in the house makes it difficult for some remote workers to separate themselves from their work at the end of the day, one benefit that is almost universally recognized is the elimination of a commute.
The average commuter in the United States spends about 27 minutes getting to work. For the typical, full-time worker, this adds up to about four hours and 30 minutes each week, and over 230 hours annually.
For some – particularly those who live and work in densely-populated urban areas – much of that time is spent sitting in traffic. Traffic delays are not only frustrating and time consuming, but they also lead to increased fuel consumption and travel expenses. And in nearly every state, there is at least one city where traffic congestion costs drivers hours each year. (Here is a look at the most fuel efficient SUVs on the market.)
Using data from INRIX, a traffic data and analytics company, 24/7 Wall St. identified the city in every state with the worst traffic. Cities are ranked on the average number of hours commuters lost due to traffic congestion in 2022. Due to a lack of available data, Alaska, South Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming are not included in this analysis. Washington, D.C., is one of six states or districts that is home to only one city with available data. In these places, which are noted, the city listed ranks as having the worst traffic by default.
Among the cities on this list, the average annual time lost to traffic congestion ranges from only a few hours to well over 100 hours. Perhaps not surprisingly, the city with the worst traffic in many states is also the most populous and one that is already notorious for bad traffic. These places include Boston, Chicago, and New York.
However, there are also some surprises. While Los Angeles is the largest city in California, and one noted for its traffic, there is another city in the state where traffic is even worse.
In nearly every city on this list, the average number of hours commuters spend sitting in traffic increased in 2022 compared to the previous year. As pandemic restrictions eased, more and more workers returned to the office, increasing the volume of cars on the road, particularly during rush hour. Last year, traffic worsened by anywhere from 3% to 380% compared to 2021 in 44 of the 47 cities on this list. (Here is a look at the most congested cities in the world.)
Click here to see the city in every state with the worst traffic.
Click here to see our detailed methodology.
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