10 Most Traffic Clogged Cities In the United States

Published June 30, 2016

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It’s obvious that Americans love their cars. So you wouldn’t be surprised to learn that there were a total of 257.9 million vehicles registered in the United States in 2015. Moreover, the United States of America is second of all the countries in the world that buy the most cars. If you’re interested, China is number one. It should also be to no one’s surprise that 85 percent of Americans get to work by car.

You probably figure that the traffic congestion that you have to battle every day is worst in the city where you live than it is in any other large city in the country.

Forbes Magazine recently came up with its top 10 most traffic clogged cities in the United States. It based its list on the annual INRIX Traffic scorecard that studied the number of lost hours commuters spent in traffic jams last year. Here’s what it discovered.

Generic Traffic Jam


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1) Los Angeles. Based on the annual INRIX Traffic scorecard, drivers who had to battle the traffic in Los Angeles lost an average of 81 hours last year. That should not be a surprise. In a city of more than 3.9 million people and more than 6.1 million cars the highway system just can’t keep up with it all. And the city does not have a subway system.

Los Angeles


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2) Washington, D.C. Despite the fact that the nation’s capital has a fairly extensive metro system, a person who opts for driving his or her own car to work wasted an average of 75 hours in traffic. It appears that the metro system, which is the second-busiest rapid transit system in the United States after the New York City subway system, is unable to significantly reduce the number of vehicles on the city’s streets.

Washington, D.C.


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3) San Francisco. Drivers wasted an average of 75 hours commuting in traffic. Just like Washington, D.C., the city by the bay also has a subway system called BART. Also known as the Bay Area Rapid Transit System, BART averaged about 423,120 weekday passengers and 126 million passengers a year. Obviously, it’s not pulling its weight to relieve traffic on the streets of San Francisco.

San Francisco


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4) Houston. Passengers in cars caught in traffic jams lost an average of 74 hours. Houston has a light rail metro system that covers 30 miles; commuter rail transit that covers 28 miles; and a bus service.



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5) New York City. Even though the Big Apple has an extensive subway and bus system, drivers commuting to work in cars lost an average of 73 hours in traffic. This despite the fact that more than 4.3 million people ride the subway system every day and more than 1 billion people ride it per year.

New York City


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6) Seattle. A person in a car stuck in traffic in Seattle wasted an average of 66 hours last year. Unlike a number of cities, the population of cars is rising in Seattle. In 2013, 456,000 non-commercial passenger cars and trucks were registered in Seattle, which represents a 4.4 percent increase since 2010. A monorail travels through the downtown area of Seattle and attracts more than 2 million riders a year. Other alternatives to the car include bus and ferry.



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7) Boston. Car commuters traveling the Boston streets lose an average of 64 hours in traffic a year. This despite the fact that car commuting is actually decreasing. About 45.3 percent of Boston commuters drove alone to work or carpooled in 2013. That rate is down a percentage point from 2010. The city had a lower automobile commuting rate than the national average, which was 86 percent in 2013.



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8) Chicago. Drivers lost an average of 60 hours stuck in traffic last year. Relief may be just around the corner. The Chicago Tribune reported in 2015 that Chicago’s carless population was growing. The population of one person, no vehicles in the city were 168,004, which was up from 150,199 in 2010. Alternative transportation includes the L or “elevated” rapid transit system. It is the third busiest rail mass transit system in the United States after the New York City subway and Washington, D.C.’s metro. An average of 752,734 passengers used the L each weekday.



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9) Atlanta. People stuck in traffic in cars here lost an average of 59 hours last year. Alternative forms of transportation in Atlanta include a subway system, which is the eighth busiest in the country and a bus system, which is the 14th largest in the country. There is also a streetcar system in the downtown area known as the Loop. As of 2014, the subway and bus systems attract an average of 438,900 passengers a day.




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10) Honolulu. Commuters going to work in cars average losing 49 hours in traffic. The city is constructing a rapid transportation system called HART, which is expected to take more than 40,000 vehicles off the roads each weekday by 2030.





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Chris Riley
About Chris Riley

I have been wrecking cars for as long as I've been driving them but I keep coming back for more. Two wheels or four, I'm all in. gives me a chance to give something back to the automobile community.

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