How to Avoid the Worst Traffic Jams in the Most Congested U.S. Cities

Stay away from these roadways, especially on Friday evening.

Image
Flickr/kanuck

The latest congestion statistics are now available courtesy the traffic data company INRIX, which has just released its fifth annual ranking of the U.S. cities with the worst traffic congestion. After analyzing traffic in the top 100 metros in the U.S., the company found that Honolulu topped the list (wasting 58 hours in traffic congestion last year), followed by Los Angeles (56 hours), San Francisco (48 hours), New York (57 hours), and Bridgeport, Connecticut (42 hours). Rounding out the top 10 were Washington, D.C. (45 hours), Seattle (33 hours), Austin (30 hours), Boston (35 hours), and Chicago (36 hours).

INRIX changed their methodology this year look at travel time for individuals rather than overall congestion, which rocketed Honolulu to the top of the list (from 37th last year).

But INRIX also has a micro look at the traffic corridors that you'll want to avoid. Here's a look from above (thanks to Google Maps) of six of the top 10 most congested traffic corridors. 

1. Los Angeles: Northbound on the San Diego Fwy/I-405 from I-105/Imperial Hwy interchange through the Getty Center Dr. exit. This 13-mile stretch typically takes 33 minutes to drive with 20 minutes of delay.

2. New York: Eastbound on the Long Island Expy/I-495 from the Maurice Ave. exit to Minneola Ave./Willis Ave. exit. This 16-mile stretch usually takes 39 minutes to drive with 22 minutes of delay.

3. Los Angeles: From Santa Monica Fwy/I-10 EB from CA-1/Lincoln Blvd. exit to Alameda St. This 15-mile stretch takes, on average, 35 minutes to drive with 20 minutes of delay.

4. New York: Northbound on I-678 (Van Wyck Expy) from Belt Pkwy to Main St. This short 3-mile stretch often takes about 13 minutes with 3 minutes of delay.

Skipping down to the 9th most congested traffic corridors (because the rest of the corridors are in New York and Los Angeles) we'll take a look at Pittsburgh, below. The eastbound stretch from Penn Lincoln Pkwy/I-376 from Lydia St. to the US-19 TK RT/PA-51 exit is a 3-mile stretch. On average it takes 13 minutes to drive with nine minutes of delay.

(UPDATE: A previous image showed an incorrect portion of the I-376 corridor. The image above has been updated to represent the correct portion of the corridor.)

10. San Francisco: An 11-mile stretch in the Bay Area running eastbound on CA-4 EB (California Delta Hwy) from Bailey Rd to Somersville Rd. typically takes 16 minutes with 11 minutes of delay.

But possibly the most helpful information for drivers in these cities is that INRIX calculates the worst times to travel across the top 100 metros. Here's what they came up with:

  • Worst traffic day: Friday
  • Worst morning commute: Tuesday
  • Worst evening commute: Friday
  • Worst hour: Friday, 5 to 6 p.m.

Also known as the times when you're most inclined to agree to pay more taxes for those transit improvements.

And here are the best times to drive:

  • Best traffic day: Monday
  • Best morning commute: Friday
  • Best evening commute: Monday
  • Best hour: Friday, 6 to 7 a.m. 

Or, the times that give you the confidence enough to think you can beat traffic on Friday, from 5-6 p.m.

Photo: Flickr/kanuck

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