L.A. Is Not the Worst Place for Traffic (But It’s Close!)

The dubious honor goes to a place already known for gridlock

Are we making headway on traffic or is it just getting really awful in D.C.? That’s the question of the hour after a new study found the nation’s capital has the worst congestion in the country, with the average commuter suffering through 82 hours of delay annually. Of course, L.A.’s close behind, with 80 hours (San Francisco [72], New York [74], and San Jose [67] round out the pack).

The numbers come from Texas A&M University’s Transportation Institute, along with tech data company INRIX. The crunchers also calculated the nation’s Top 10 worst roads—six are in L.A. (they don’t spell out which they are).

All that traffic is causing drivers to waste more than 2 billion gallons of fuel and keep travelers behind the wheel 7 billion extra hours; the financial cost is $160 billion or about $960 per commuter.

The study says the improving economy is behind some of the increased congestion, but also lays blame on a reluctance by Congress to invest in road and transit infrastructure. More localized fixes are needed too, the study’s authors say:

“Businesses can give their employees more flexibility in where, when and how they work, individual workers can adjust their commuting patterns, and we can have better thinking when it comes to long-term land use planning.”