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.
7. San Jose
Traffic congestion in San Jose jumped by 25 percent between 2012 and 2013. That's a staggering figure, but it makes sense if you consider the skyrocketing housing prices in San Francisco and the booming tech industry in silicon valley. On average, San Jose drivers spent 35 hours in traffic last year (we'll skip the 'you'd think they'd have an app for that' joke). The Bay Area has added more than 600 miles of highways over the past two decades, but future expansion looks limited to carpool and toll lanes. The BART expansion into the South Bay should be completed in a few years.
Worst Corridor: US-101 between Lawrence Expy and De la Cruz Blvd.
Worst Hour: Thursdays at 6 p.m.
Travel Tip: It isn't unusual for companies to charter private buses to pick up commuters and bring them to work. Many, like Google, offer several busses a day so that commuters can skip rush hour for faster trips. If your company offers this, hop on.
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