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The 10 Cities with the Worst Traffic in the U.S.


How much of your precious vacation time are you willing to sacrifice to traffic congestion? That’s a question you should ask yourself before booking a rental car in any of the following cities, which have the worst traffic in the U.S. according to a study by INRIX, a “leader in mobility analytics and connected car services.”

The Worst Traffic in the U.S. Is In…

INRIX reports that the most traffic-congested city in the U.S. is Boston, where drivers lose an average of 164 hours a year to congestion. Things aren’t much better in Washington, D.C., where commuters slogged through 155 hours of congestion each year.

Which U.S. cities were the worst? Led by Boston and D.C., the 10 most congested American cities, and the number of hours spent in traffic, were as follows:

  1. Boston – 164
  2. Washington, D.C. – 155
  3. Chicago – 138
  4. New York City – 133
  5. Los Angeles – 128
  6. Seattle – 138
  7. Pittsburgh – 127
  8. San Francisco – 116
  9. Philadelphia – 112
  10. Portland, Oregon – 116

Note that the cities were ranked not only by total hours lost to congestion but also other factors such as the cost of congestion per driver.

For travelers, there’s a clear link between congested cities and popular tourist destinations. You’ll want to consider timing your sightseeing to avoid rush hour and using public transportation (or walking) instead of driving while on vacation in these cities.

The Worst U.S. Routes for Traffic Congestion

INRIX also identified America’s most congested roads, and a New York City route took home this dubious honor. The Cross Bronx Expressway from the Bruckner Expressway to the Trans-Manhattan Expressway has an average daily delay of 29 minutes, adding up to 114 hours of delays over the course of the year.

Rounding out the top five were Chicago’s I-94/I-90, Chicago’s Eisenhower Expressway, L.A.’s I-10, and Pittsburgh’s I-376.

The Worst Traffic Cities in the World

If you think Boston’s delays are bad, you might want to give Moscow a miss. The Russian capital topped INRIX’s worldwide list of the cities with the worst traffic, with drivers sitting through a whopping 210 hours of delays a year. Other traffic-choked cities around the world include Istanbul, Bogota, Mexico City, and Sao Paulo.

Do you take local traffic conditions into consideration when choosing trip destinations?

Expecting Traffic? Boost Your Safety With a Car Mount

Car Mount Holder

Navigating foreign cities is difficult enough without the traffic. Having a car mount to deter distractions and mitigate risk of an accident is pivotal for these trips- long or short.

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Follow Sarah Schlichter on Twitter @TravelEditor for more travel tips and inspiration.

Editor’s note: This story was originally published in 2018. It has been updated to reflect the most current information. Tim Winship contributed to this story.

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