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The 10 U.S. Cities With the Worst Traffic

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August is National Traffic Awareness Month. This is a great chance to talk about traffic issues. In recent years, many cities have become more congested, causing traffic like we’ve never seen before. Let’s see which cities have the worst traffic. 

Most Congested Cities

Traffic congestion is measured in how many hours were lost to waiting in traffic. The U.S. Federal Highway Administration estimates that each hour spent in traffic costs about $17. The information below comes from INRIX

  1. Chicago – 155 hours
  2. Boston – 134 hours
  3. New York City – 117 hours
  4. Philadelphia – 114 hours
  5. Miami – 105 hours
  6. Los Angeles – 95 hours
  7. San Francisco – 97 hours
  8. Washington – 83 hours
  9. Houston – 74 hours
  10. Atlanta – 74 hours

What Causes Traffic Congestion?

There are two types of congestion to consider: recurring and non-recurring. Recurring congestion occurs during rush hour. It means that the city’s roads aren’t able to accommodate heightened traffic at certain times of day. Non-recurring traffic jams are caused by unexpected elements like weather, accidents, or human-caused incidents. Let’s explore four major causes behind traffic jams. 

Vehicular Events

We’ve all been stuck in a traffic jam due to an accident on the road. This is considered a vehicular event in the context of traffic congestion. Other vehicular events include breakdowns and debris on the road. Agero Insights found that 150 million people get stuck in traffic due to breakdowns. That’s 120 million hours annually. 

Human Interference

Human interference is also a frequent cause of traffic jams. Consider examples like drowsy driving, drunk driving, distracted driving, or speeding. Of course, these behaviors often lead to accidents that slow down the flow of traffic. However, it’s not always accidents that are the culprit. For example, distracted driving often causes people to brake abruptly. This triggers a ripple effect to the traffic behind them. This phenomenon is known as a “phantom traffic jam” because there isn’t a true cause for the jam. Although the reason may not be discernible, these traffic jams can cause delays just as long as accidents can. 

Environmental Issues

Sometimes the cause of traffic jams is completely out of anyone’s control. The Department of Transportation reports that 15% of traffic jams are caused by bad weather. Lanes might be submerged under water or snow. Bad winds may blow debris onto the road. Wet pavement causes reduction in speed from 10-25% according to the DOT. It is good to be careful when driving in inclement weather, but it does cause congestion. 

Infrastructure Failures

We’ve all been frustrated by poor infrastructure on our roadways. A common example is highways or roads that are too small to accommodate their traffic flow. Overused roads develop potholes, which are a major cause of traffic. If you’re frustrated by infrastructure issues, you’re not alone. The American Society of Civil Engineers rated the United States with a C minus in regards to our infrastructure. Bridges are a particular concern, as they are aging and not being updated or maintained sufficiently. Americans households have lost over $3,000 each due to increased fuel consumption from infrastructure issues. 

How Azuga Routes Can Help

Azuga Routes is an advanced route planning software that can help you avoid many of these problems. We use machine learning, algorithms, and smart technology to help your drivers seamlessly travel from Point A to Point B. This technology creates a route that avoids traffic jams, no matter what they’re caused by. To learn more about what Azuga Routes can do, try a demo with one of our experts!