The 10 Most Congested U.S. Cities

Being stuck in traffic costs the average American about 100 hours and $1,400 each year.


This week, INRIX, a transportation analytics and connected car services company, released its 2019 Global Traffic Scorecard, which details the 10 most congested U.S. cities.

According to the data, the average American loses about 99 hours and nearly $1,400 each year in time lost due to congestion. As a result of economic and urban growth, the problem is only getting worse.

Here are the worst offenders:

10: Atlanta: Atlanta drivers lost 82 hours in traffic, and it cost each driver $1,214 in lost time.

9: Baltimore: Baltimore drivers lost 84 hours in gridlock and lost about $1,243 as a result. The city also tied for worst last-mile speed at 10 mph. That's a slow crawl for that last mile. 

8: Portland, Ore.: Drivers in Portland lost 89 hours and about $1,317. 

7: San Francisco: San Francisco drivers lost 97 hours and nearly $1,436 in lost time. The city also tied for worst last-mile speed. 

6: Los Angeles: Drivers in Los Angeles lost 103 hours, which seems low if you've ever driven in L.A. They also lost $1,524. 

In the top five, we see some jumps: 

5: Washington, D.C.: Drivers in Washington lost 124 hours, tied for the worst last-mile speed, and cost each driver an average of $1,835. What's funny is that D.C. improved 11% and still made the top five. 

4: New York: New York City lost 140 hours per driver as well as $2,072 per person. 

3: Philadelphia: Philadelphia drivers lost 142 hours, $2,102, and helped round out the cities with the worst last-mile speed. 

2: Chicago: Drivers in Chicago lost 145 hours and $2,146. 

1: Boston: Finally, the no. 1 worst city when it comes to congestion is Boston, Mass., where drivers lost an astonishing 149 hours in traffic and nearly $2,205 in lost time. That's dangerously close to a full week in traffic โ€” and the city's performance improved 5% year-over-year. 

Most of the cities had medium-to-low bike access, though all but L.A. and Atlanta had high access to public transit. 

On a global scale, Boston commuters don't have it as bad as those in Bogota, Colombia, where drivers lost 191 hours in traffic. 

If you're looking to flee the rat race, consider Topeka, Kan. Topeka was the best performing urban area with a last-mile speed of 25 mph, a 100% improvement year-over-year, and no hours lost in congestion. Over a year, drivers in Topeka save six hours in traffic.

Infographic: The 10 Most Congested U.S. Cities in 2019

If it wasn't for Chicago keeping it down, the Midwest accounts for most of the best performing urban areas. 

INRIX provides data and analytics on traffic, parking and population to help city planners and engineers make better decisions. The information could one day help fix our nation's many gridlock nightmares.  

If you consider just the top 10, it accounts for about $48 billion in losses; you can see the value proposition. 

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