Traffic: Congestion Plummets WorldWide

Traffic congestion worldwide dropped a “startling” 30% in 2011.  Seventy of the hundred largest US cities had traffic decreases last year.  Unemployment and gas prices are cited as principal factors.

“The declines in traffic congestion across the U.S. and Europe are indicative of stalled economies worldwide,” said Bryan Mistele, CEO of INRIX, which provided the findings.  “In America, the economic recovery on Wall Street has not arrived on Main Street. Americans are driving less and spending less fueled by gas prices and a largely jobless recovery.”

  • The cities with the biggest drops in congestion also have gas prices that exceed the national average.  These include Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Honolulu.
  • Cities with employment growth over the national average (Tampa, Houston, and Austin) had some of the biggest increases in congestion.

The Top 10 Worst U.S. Traffic Cities were:

  1. Honolulu, Hawaii
  2. Los Angeles, California
  3. San Francisco, California
  4. New York, New York
  5. Bridgeport, Connecticut
  6. Washington, D.C.
  7. Seattle, Washington
  8. Austin, Texas
  9. Boston, Massachusetts
  10. Chicago, Illinois

The  Top 10 Worst U.S. Traffic Corridors were:

  1. Los Angeles:  A 13-mile stretch of the San Diego Fwy/I-405 NB from I-105/Imperial Hwy interchange through the Getty Center Dr. exit that takes 33 minutes on average, with 20 minutes of delay.
  2. New York: A 16-mile stretch of the Long Island Expy/I-495 EB from the Maurice Ave. exit to Minneola Ave./Willis Ave. exit that takes 39 minutes on average, with 22 minutes of delay.
  3. Los Angeles:  A 15-mile stretch of the Santa Monica Fwy/I-10 EB from CA-1/Lincoln Blvd. exit to Alameda St. that takes 35 minutes on average, with 20 minutes of delay.
  4. New York:  An intense three-mile stretch of I-678 NB (Van Wyck Expy) from Belt Pkwy to Main St. that takes 13 minutes on average, with 10 minutes of delay.
  5. Los Angeles:  A 17.5-mile stretch of I-5 SB (Santa Ana/Golden St Fwys) from E. Caesar Chavez Ave to Valley View Ave. exits that takes 40 minutes on average, with 22 minutes of delay.
  6. New York:  A 10-mile stretch of I-278 WB (Brooklyn Queens/Gowanus Expy) from NY-25A/Northern Blvd. to the NY-27/Prospect Expy Exits that takes 31 minutes on average, with 18 minutes of delay.
  7. Los Angeles:  An eight-mile stretch of I-405 SB (San Diego Fwy) from Nordhoff St. to Mulholland Dr. that takes 22 minutes on average, with 14 minutes of delay.
  8. New York:  A six-mile stretch of the I-678 SB (Van Wyck Expy) from Horace Harding Expy to Linden Blvd that takes 20 minutes on average, with 13 minutes of delay.
  9. Pittsburgh:  An intense three-mile stretch of Penn Lincoln Pkwy/I-376 EB from Lydia St. to the US-19 TK RT/PA-51 exit that takes 13 minutes on average with nine minutes of delay in the morning peak period.
  10. San Francisco:  An 11-mile stretch of the CA-4 EB (California Delta Hwy) from Bailey Rd to Somersville Rd. that takes 16 minutes on average, with 11 minutes of delay.

Unique patterns evolving out of U.S. traffic congestion found in the INRIX research include:

  • Worst Traffic Day: Friday
  • Worst Morning Commute: Tuesday
  • Worst Evening Commute: Friday
  • Worst Hour: Friday 5 – 6 p.m.
  • Best Traffic Day: Monday
  • Best Morning Commute: Friday
  • Best Evening Commute: Monday
  • Best Hour: Friday 6 – 7 a.m.

Source:  INRIX Press Release, May 22, 2012.  Available for free as a public service from INRIX, the INRIX Traffic Scorecard is the definitive source on traffic congestion. The report is the first of its kind to rank and provide detailed information on the 100 most congested U.S. metropolitan areas and the 100 worst traffic corridors nationwide. In creating the Scorecard, INRIX analyzes information for more than 300,000 miles of roads in the U.S. and 250,000 km in Europe during every hour of the day to generate the most comprehensive and timely congestion analyses available.  INRIX is based in Kirkland, WA.