The average American living in one of the 10 most congested cities in the U.S. wasted about 47 hours in traffic last year – roughly equivalent to 10 minutes per workday or a week's worth of vacation. That's according to a new report from Inrix, a Washington-based traffic-analysis company that studies road congestion in the country's 100 biggest cities. The news isn't all bad, though: Traffic can be a sign that there are more jobs.
"We call it the trafficonomy," says Jim Bak, author of the report. "More activity on the roads means more jobs and consumer spending. So there were slumps from 2008 to 2012, and now, we're seeing signs of life."
And where there are more job opportunities, there is more traffic. So if you're being recruited by a company in Boston, Austin, Bridgeport, or the seven other cities in this list, you might want to take into account the eight days you'll spend with a foot on the brake.
Here are the 10 worst cities to have a morning commute, and a few tips for getting around the gridlock.
1. Los Angeles
Well, this is no surprise. If you've ever spent time in L.A., you know that it lives up to its reputation for having horrendous traffic problems. Inrix measured that the average Angeleno driver spent 64 hours in traffic last year. That's a five-hour increase from 2012 and the equivalent to eight full work days. There are many reasons for the congestion, not the least of which is the fact that Los Angeles is technically a county of 88 cities, which makes it hard to implement traffic strategies across all of the jurisdictions. The county has also been slow to open new freeways despite consistent population growth over the past two decades.
Worst Corridor: The I-405 SB between Roscoe Blvd to Mulholland Dr.
Worst Hour: Wednesday mornings at 8 a.m.
Travel Tip: The early bird gets the worm. The 405, sometimes nicknamed America's Worst Freeway, will always be busy on weekday mornings, but if you get on the road before 7 a.m., you have a shot a breezier ride.
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