KIRKLAND, Wash. — If you are a professional truck driver reading this article, it probably comes as no surprise that five of the top 10 most congested cities in the world are located in the United States, according to the all-new INRIX Global Traffic Scorecard.
INRIX, a global provider of transportation analytics and connected car services, analyzed 1,064 cities — 240 in the U.S. — across 38 countries, making it the largest ever study of traffic congestion.
Based on those findings, the U.S. ranked as the most congested developed country in the world, with drivers spending an average of 42 hours a year in traffic during peak hours.
For the first time, the scorecard also included the direct and indirect costs of congestion to all U.S. drivers, which amounted to nearly $300 billion in 2016, an average of $1,400 per driver.
U.S. cities dominated the top 10 most congested cities globally, with Los Angeles (first), New York (third), San Francisco (fourth), Atlanta (eighth) and Miami (10th), each dealing with an economic drain on the city upwards of $2.5 billion caused by traffic congestion.
Following the aforementioned U.S. cities, the other five cities that ranked sixth through 10th were Washington, Dallas, Boston, Chicago and Seattle.
Los Angeles commuters spent an average of 104 hours last year in traffic jams during peak congestion hours — more than any other city in the world.
This contributed to congestion costing drivers in Los Angeles $2,408 each and the city as a whole $9.6 billion from direct and indirect costs.
Direct costs relate to the value of fuel and time wasted, and indirect costs refer to freight and business fees from company vehicles idling in traffic, which are passed on to households through higher prices.
Interestingly, both New York and San Francisco, the second- and third-ranked cities in North America (89 and 83 peak hours spent in congestion respectively), have a similar average congestion rate (13 percent) as Los Angeles, but show strikingly different traffic patterns during various parts of the day.
For example, New York City has the highest daytime congestion on arterials and city streets, while San Francisco holds the top spot at peak times.
Phoenix and Detroit tied for the lowest cost of congestion among the top 25 U.S. cities, at $1,062 per driver, and rank among the bottom in all three categories of costs: commuting, business and leisure/other.
Despite the high costs of congestion in New York and other cities, American drivers, in general, have it easier than their German counterparts. At $1,938, congestion costs the average German driver 38 percent more than an American after adjusting for exchange rates and the cost of living.
The survey showed that freight delivery and business-related travel are slowest within Chicago and Boston.
Average congested speeds during the daytime within the two cities are just 4.9 mph.
Boston, San Francisco, Seattle and Los Angeles round out the top five most-congested major cities for businesses, with 13-14 percent of travel congested during the daytime on arterials and city streets.
The survey also ranked U.S. highways for congestion.
Interstate 95 in New York westbound from Exit 6A (I-278) to Exit 2 (Trans-Manhattan Expressway) had a total of 86 hours of delay with the afternoon the worst peak period.
I-90/I-94 northbound in Chicago from Exit 53A (I-55) to Exit 34B (I-90/I-94) was second with 85 total hours of delay with the morning as the worst peak period.
“A stable U.S. economy, continued urbanization of major cities, and factors such as employment growth and low gas prices have all contributed to increased traffic in 2016. Congestion also costs our country hundreds of billions of dollars, threatens future economic growth and lowers our quality of life. Traffic truly is a double-edged sword,” said Bob Pishue, senior economist at INRIX. “The demand for driving is expected to continue to rise, while the supply of roadway will remain flat. Using big data and technology to improve operations of existing roadways offers a more immediate impact on traffic flows and mobility while transportation officials explore strategic capital investments.” For a more detailed list of congestion points, visit http://inrix.com/press-releases/los-angeles-tops-inrix-global-congestion-ranking/.