Special Report

This Is the Worst City To Drive in Colorado

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Millions of Americans began working from home during the pandemic, but millions others continued to commute to work every day. Now that offices are opening up again, more Americans will be joining them, with many dreading the commute. The average drive to work is 27.6 minutes, but in some parts of the country this commute can take much longer.

Driving on major highways packed with commuters can also be dangerous, as traffic accidents can occur. While every major city is bound to have some traffic, each state has at least one major metropolitan area in which driving is especially time consuming, expensive, and dangerous.

To determine the worst cities to drive in, 24/7 Wall St. created an index assessing the safety, cost, and convenience of driving in America’s metropolitan statistical areas.

Traffic congestion is the result of too many cars on the road and not enough roadway. And certain times, such as commute time, lend themselves to more traffic congestion. Most of the worst cities to drive in each state are metro areas with populations of well over 1 million people, making them among the largest population centers in the country.

Major metro areas tend to have better public transit options. Yet the vast majority of the cities that rank as the worst to drive in their state have a relatively high share of commuters who drive their own car to work compared to the nationwide share of 84.8%.

The worst place to drive in Colorado is the Denver-Aurora-Lakewood metro area. It has an average commute time of 28.8 minutes, longer than the average commute in Colorado, which is 26.5 minutes. The time and fuel wasted sitting in traffic cost the average area driver $545 in 2020.

Statewide, 82.8% of workers drive to work, compared to 82.2% of Denver-Aurora-Lakewood area commuters. The Denver-Aurora-Lakewood metro area reported 8.4 traffic fatalities per 100,000 residents in 2019. Its most dangerous road was I-70, with 14 fatalities on that road that year.

To determine the worst cities to drive in, 24/7 Wall St. created an index assessing the safety, cost, and convenience of driving in America’s metropolitan statistical areas. Data on the number of traffic fatalities in 2019 from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System and were adjusted for population using data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2019 American Community Survey and were included in the index. Data on the mean travel time to work for the population 16 years and over came from the 2019 ACS and was included in the index.

State Metro Area 2019 traffic fatalities per 100,000 Most dangerous road Mean travel time to work (minutes)
Alabama Birmingham-Hoover 13.7 I-65 28.1
Alaska Anchorage 9.3 SR-3 PARKS HWY 23.1
Arizona Phoenix-Mesa-Chandler 10.4 I-10 27.9
Arkansas Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway 12.9 I-30-22 22.7
California San Francisco-Oakland-Berkeley 5.4 I-80 35.2
Colorado Denver-Aurora-Lakewood 8.4 I-70 28.8
Connecticut Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk 3.3 I-95 32.2
Delaware Dover 13.8 US-13 27.6
Florida Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach 11.1 I-95 30.3
Georgia Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Alpharetta 11.3 I-75 32.5
Hawaii Urban Honolulu 5.2 SR-83 29.4
Idaho Boise City 8.0 I-84 23.0
Illinois Chicago-Naperville-Elgin 6.2 I-80 32.4
Indiana Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson 9.9 I-70E 25.6
Iowa Cedar Rapids 7.3 US-30 20.8
Kansas Wichita 11.9 SR-254 20.6
Kentucky Louisville/Jefferson County 12.0 I-64 24.2
Louisiana New Orleans-Metairie 12.6 I-10 26.5
Maine Bangor 17.1 I-95 NB 22.3
Maryland Baltimore-Columbia-Towson 7.2 I-95 31.7
Massachusetts Boston-Cambridge-Newton 3.8 I-95 32.6
Michigan Detroit-Warren-Dearborn 7.8 I-94 27.5
Minnesota Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington 5.0 US-169 26.1
Mississippi Jackson 18.3 I-55 25.2
Missouri St. Louis 11.7 I-70 26.0
Montana Billings 11.6 US-310 19.9
Nebraska Omaha-Council Bluffs 10.1 I-80 21.2
Nevada Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise 8.2 I-15 25.9
New Hampshire Manchester-Nashua 6.5 SR-101 28.0
New Jersey Atlantic City-Hammonton 12.1 US-40 26.1
New Mexico Albuquerque 15.4 I-40 24.4
New York New York-Newark-Jersey City 4.2 GSP-444 37.7
North Carolina Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia 10.5 I-77 27.7
North Dakota Bismarck 9.3 38TH AVE SW 18.3
Ohio Columbus 9.5 I-71 25.0
Oklahoma Oklahoma City 11.2 I-40 23.7
Oregon Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro 7.1 SR-18 ODOT 39 26.8
Pennsylvania Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington 7.2 I-95 30.8
Rhode Island Providence-Warwick 6.6 I-95N EXIT 3B 27.2
South Carolina Florence 29.8 US-52 24.7
South Dakota Rapid City 8.4 SR-79 19.6
Tennessee Memphis 17.3 I-55 24.8
Texas Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land 9.2 I-45 30.7
Utah Salt Lake City 5.8 SR-68 23.3
Vermont Burlington-South Burlington 4.6 US-7 23.7
Virginia Winchester 11.5 US-50 32.8
Washington Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue 5.1 SR-99 31.6
West Virginia Wheeling 17.3 SR-7 25.6
Wisconsin Milwaukee-Waukesha 7.4 I-41 23.5
Wyoming Cheyenne 15.1 US-85 17.5

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