Traffic gridlock hits bottom
in second quarter of 2009
Sep 9, 2009 9:47 AM
By analyzing traffic on major highways in the nation’s 100 largest metropolitan areas, the Scorecard provides a comprehensive and national scale glimpse into the intractable issues of urban traffic congestion. According to the report, the top 10 most congested cities in the first half of 2009 were:
- 1. Los Angeles CA
- 2. New York NY
- 3. Chicago IL
- 4. Washington DC (from 5th in first half of 2008)
- 5. Dallas TX (from 4th in first half of 2008)
- 6. Houston TX
- 7. San Francisco CA
- 8. Boston MA
- 9. Seattle WA
- 10. Philadelphia PA
Additionally, available for the first time, INRIX analyzed information from its data warehouse to provide a snapshot of commercial freight traffic concentration. As a result, INRIX found that while the nation’s busiest longhaul freight roadways cut across 28 states, more than 95% of this mileage comes from just 10 states—including Arkansas, Georgia, Tennessee, and Texas. Roads that serve as thoroughfares in the middle of the country—such as I-40, I-75, I-81, and I-35 —how more relative longhaul freight usage in general than the roads at the edges of the country, such as I-5 and I-95.
The state of traffic:
- The typical urban commuter sits 30 hours a year in slow traffic.
- Los Angeles has the nation’s highest metropolitan travel times during peak commute hours, followed by Honolulu HI. Drivers in both cities spend an extra nine minutes on the roads for what would be a 30-minute commute without traffic.
- Washington DC moved up to 3rd (from 6th in the first half of 2008) with drivers losing more than six minutes on average for 30-minute commutes.
- Los Angeles, Washington DC, and Dallas were the only cities in the Top 10 that experienced increased congestion.
- Among the most congested cities in terms of travel times, Baton Rouge’s ranking saw the biggest jump, moving from 22nd in 2008 to 13th. San Diego had the biggest drop, from 13th to 19th, with commuters in both cities losing 30-40 minutes per week stuck in traffic.
- Delays in evening peak commute periods were higher than their corresponding morning peak periods every weekday. Wednesday, 8-9 am continues as the busiest morning peak hour nationwide and Friday, 5-6 pm continues as the busiest evening peak hour - when commutes that would take drivers 60 minutes with no traffic, are now taking 70-71 minutes on average.
- Across the country off-peak periods—mid-days, evenings, overnights, and weekends—generally showed small increases in travel times from 2008 to 2009, likely indicating that work zones from construction and maintenance activities have increased. This is a signal that “stimulus projects” are starting to have a noticeable impact.
- More than 2,500 miles of the nation’s most important thoroughfares are congested more than five hours each week—an hour each workday. More than 400 of these miles experience more than four hours of congestion each workday.
© 2013 Penton Media Inc.