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.
3. San Francisco
Some studies have tied the Bay Area's traffic jam rates with those of Los Angeles, but Inrix places San Francisco at No. 3 with drivers spending an average of 56 hours in traffic in 2013. That's an increase of seven hours from 2012. Unlike other cities, though, traffic in San Francisco is often worse on the weekends than the work week. Getting in and out of the city almost always requires using a bridge or tunnel, or getting through some sort of toll collection, that inevitably slows down traffic flow.
Worst Corridor: CA-4 WB between Lone Tree Way/A St and Somersville Road
Worst Hour: Thursdays at 7 a.m.
Travel Tip: If you can drive to a BART station and commute from there, do so. If you don't, adjust your travel times to avoid the surge.
Credit: Thomas Winz / Getty Image