Which cities have the worst traffic?
Commuters sit in traffic in Chicago, Illinois in Septeber 2010.
January 20th, 2011
10:15 AM ET

Which cities have the worst traffic?

Drivers in the Chicago and Washington, D.C., metro areas spend the most time stuck in traffic, according to an annual analysis of the nation’s traffic trends.

Commuters in those two cities spent an average of 70 hours stuck in traffic in 2009, according to the 2010 Urban Mobility Report, published by the Texas Transportation Institute at Texas A&M University.

Southern California – the Los Angeles, Long Beach and Santa Ana metro area – was third with an average of 63 hours spent stuck in traffic.

Chicago commuters lost the most money to the delays, $1,738, according to the survey, while D.C. commuters wasted the most gas, 57 gallons each.

The top 10 cities for traffic delays in 2009:

1st - (tie) Chicago, Washington, D.C. – 70 hours
3rd - Southern California – 63 hours
4th - Houston – 58 hours
5th - San Francisco-Oakland – 49 hours
6th - (tie) Dallas-Fort Worth, Boston – 48 hours
8th - Atlanta, Seattle – 44 hours
10th - New York- Newark – 42 hours

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Filed under: U.S.
soundoff (123 Responses)
  1. Finrod

    Atlanta was going to expand its highways in the 1990s, but the federal government wouldn't let them because of the Clean Air Act. That's why nothing but 400 hasn't been expanded in more than a decade. Now the air report may say the air is marginally cleaner but you can't tell it sitting stuck in traffic breathing exhaust fumes. Thank you very little, Bill Clinton.

    January 21, 2011 at 9:48 am | Report abuse |
  2. Mr.Mike

    Part of the problem is poorly timed traffic lights and people driving badly. We should be investing in intelligent auto navigation systems that take over in heavy traffic and coordinate with each other to maximize traffic flow. For example, we could have lanes of traffic merging together smoothly under the guidance of coordinated systems instead of stop and go we have now.

    January 21, 2011 at 9:58 am | Report abuse |
  3. Akira

    Yeah, I can attest to DC having the worst traffic. The Capital Beltway is one of Dante's Nine Layers of Hell.

    January 21, 2011 at 10:12 am | Report abuse |
  4. Jim

    It's George Bush's fault. Hey, everything else still gets blamed on George, why not this? It's 9 degrees and snowy here in Michigan. Just wait till I see George. Spare me the "it IS January in Michigan" rhetoric. Bush's fault.

    January 21, 2011 at 10:18 am | Report abuse |
  5. Cami

    No way can this be true. Traffic moves in DC around the beltway. Traffic here is not worse than LA or even the Bay Area for that matter. I'm a native Californian living in DC now and these stats must be skewed. I just don't believe these numbers.

    January 21, 2011 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Kitch

    No way. I spend WAY more time in traffic here in NYC than I ever did in Seattle.

    January 21, 2011 at 6:10 pm | Report abuse |
  7. cat

    Move to the country and you won't have to worry about all of these cars! Just a buggy and horse every now and then.

    January 21, 2011 at 9:27 pm | Report abuse |
  8. jim

    I was in a traffic jam once, around 10 minutes, it was the pitts. I love pudunk KANSAS!

    March 29, 2011 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Mikey

    Dallas is definitely one of the worst. Texans do not know how to do urban planning. The traffic lights hold everyone up for what seems like years before it lets them exit the highway. This just backs it all up. Traffic jams along I-35 easily stretch over 10 miles. The TXDOT all need to resign. They're simply incompetent.

    March 29, 2011 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Suzan

    You ought to try downtown St. Louis, Missouri

    March 29, 2011 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Brad

    I agree with the post from the Houston resident. I have lived in Dallas/Fort Worth and Austin, and Austin is by-far the worst traffic that I have seen anywhere in Texas.

    March 29, 2011 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Sam

    It's not always the number of cars on the road; sometimes many drivers drive too slowly and leave large spaces between themselves and the driver in front. Unfortunately, this tends to create a ripple effect as drivers behind tend to also drive slowly. End result: poor utilization of the road and traffic jams.

    March 29, 2011 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
  13. John Y.

    The Washington area is by far the worse traffic. I live in VA, 32 miles from my office in DC, and this past Monday it took me 2hrs and 15min. to get to work which is typical for 6:30-7:00AM. Ever try driving I395 & I95 in Northern VA. on a Friday in the summer at 5:00 PM, don't!

    March 29, 2011 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
  14. rotoclean

    Phoenix az is no cake walk! Rush hr is terrible. And there are alot of idiot drivers here!

    March 29, 2011 at 7:12 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Chief Stonefox

    the worst city is Toronto Ontario Canada. red lights on all the roads to slow you down!!!

    April 1, 2011 at 8:37 pm | Report abuse |
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