New data shows that traffic congestion has gone up for 11 consecutive months in 2010. There is no surprise that big cities like New York and Los Angeles are the worst.
According to INRIX – a real-time traffic data company – drivers can now expect at least a 10-percent increase in travel times. INRIX has found that there is an inverse correlation between unemployment and traffic rates: the lower the unemployment rate, the higher the rates of traffic congestion.
“Population growth…spurred by economic recovery is fueling these increases,” INRIX president and CEO Bryan Mistele points out. “With only 150,000 new jobs created in our nation’s urban centers last year, we can expect even worse gridlock when the six million jobs lost in the recession return to the nation’s cities. If unemployment drops to seven percent by 2012 as predicted, nine million more daily work trips will jam our nation’s road network.”
The top 10 most congested cities all already have increased traffic, with the most congested city in the U.S. – Los Angeles – having the average commuter trip on a Thursday at 5:30 p.m. taking a whopping 71 percent longer in 2010 over 2009. The remainder of the top 10 is rounded out as follows:
- New York: On Friday at 5:15 p.m., the average trip takes 47 percent longer than normal
- Chicago: On Friday at 5:15 p.m., the average trip takes 41 percent longer
- Washington, D.C.: On Thursday at 5:30 p.m., the average trip takes 51 percent longer than normal
- Dallas: On Friday at 5:15 p.m., the average trip takes 36 percent longer than normal
- San Francisco: On Thursday at 5:30 p.m., the average trip takes 63 percent longer than normal
- Houston: On Friday at 5:15 p.m., the average trip takes 33 percent longer than normal
- Boston: On Friday at 5:30 p.m., the average trip takes 33 percent longer than normal
- Philadelphia: On Friday at 5:15 p.m., the average trip takes 29 percent longer than normal
- Seattle: On Thursday at 5:15 p.m., the average trip takes 49 percent longer than normal
New York also takes the cake with the worst traffic corridor in the country: I-95 along the Bruckner and the Cross Bronx Expressways takes 43 minus on average to travel with 30 minutes of delays. That specific stretch leading toward Manhattan and Queens from the Bronx is only 11 miles long. When compared to European cities, the Los Angeles freeway system is more congested than that of any other city in the U.K., France, Germany, Belgium, or the Netherlands.
Drivers who travel along the most congested roads in America will spend at least a month of their lives sitting in traffic. However, it should be noted that these are average times, and many drivers often sit in traffic for much longer. For those who are masochistic, the worst commuting day of the week is Thursday but, unsurprisingly, the worst evening commute happens on Fridays between5 and 6 p.m. If you’re looking to beat the traffic, Fridays between 6 and 7 a.m. will be your best bet.