10 U.S. Cities with the Worst Traffic
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10 U.S. Cities with the Worst Traffic


You've heard it before: "Los Angeles has the worst traffic in the world."

The city has earned a reputation for its abhorrent traffic, and an annual traffic index released this week by TomTom, the maker of GPS devices, shows that reputation is well-deserved: L.A. really does have the worst roadway congestion in the country. Drivers there who have a 30-minute commute spend an average of 90 hours a year sitting in traffic.

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The report finds that overall travel times in L.A. are about 36 percent longer than they would be without traffic delays — and 75 percent longer during the evening rush hour.

And as notoriously bad as L.A. traffic is, the TomTom index suggests that it has actually gotten worse: Congestion rose 2 percentage points from 2012 to 2013.

Los Angelinos might find some small measure of comfort in knowing that it could be worse: They could be in Rio de Janeiro, which has the worst traffic in all of the Americas, according to the index.

Mexico City and Sao Paulo also ranked worse than L.A. Half of the 10 worst cities in the report are in the U.S., with West Coast population centers like San Francisco, Seattle and San Jose joining Los Angeles on the list.

The index is compiled by measuring travel times during the whole day and peak periods and comparing them with travel times during non-congested hours. Based on information collected from its GPS units, TomTom reported data for each weekday and took into account local roads and highways.

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Here are the 10 U.S. cities with the worst traffic:

1. Los Angeles: The list-topper features a nearly 40-minute delay per hour driven during peak commuting times , and its overall traffic levels make it the fourth-worst of 63 cities studied across the Americas.

2. San Francisco: Commuters will be delayed 83 hours per year based on a 30-minute commute. The city’s 32 percent congestion rate ranks as sixth-worst in the Americas.

3. Honolulu: The evening commute posts a huge challenge in the Hawaiian capital, with more than a 50 percent congestion rate each weekday night. After a roughly three-percent drop in congestion in the middle of 2013, Honolulu’s congestion has trended back upward.

4. Seattle: Thursday night is a bad time to be on the roads in the Emerald City – it has an average of more than 80 percent congestion.

5. San Jose: Congestion here has trended upward since the first quarter of 2012, culminating in a 35-minute delay per hour driven in the peak period.

6. New York: With the largest population on the list, New York holds a steady percent of congestion throughout its weekday mornings (35-40 percent) and evenings (40-55 percent).

7. Miami: The congestion level on Miami’s highways is 12 percent, while it has 32 percent congestion on non-highways.

8. Washington: Drivers with a 30-minute commute can expect to spend 73 hours in traffic annually in our nation’s capital.

9. Portland: Morning commutes are a breeze in Portland compared to other cities on the list, with a 31 percent congestion rate.

10. New Orleans: With a 25-minute delay per hour driven during peak periods, New Orleans has a morning congestion rate similar to Portland’s. 

By comparison to those cities, driving in Cleveland, Indianapolis and Kansas City might be generally less frustrating. Those three cities earned bragging rights for the least amount of traffic. The congestion rate for all three put together (29 percent) is smaller than that for Los Angeles’ (36 percent). 

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