Sitting in traffic can be irritating, but it will also cost you. Currently, Americans spend close to 100 hours each year in traffic, which ends up costing the U.S. billions in dollars for gas money and wear on our automobiles.
You can start saving now by following our guide to avoid the worst cities for traffic in the US. We included hours and cost per person, rush hour, worst time to drive, roads to avoid and reason why each city has so much traffic.
10. Atlanta, Georgia
Hours lost in congestion per person in 2019: 82
Cost of congestion per driver: $1,214
Rush hour: It can start as early as 4 a.m., and it can last as late as 10 p.m.
Worst time to drive: 6 a.m.-7 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.-4:30 p.m.
Road(s) to avoid: Avoid I-285 if possible.
Why there is so much traffic here: Atlanta’s strange grid and its focus on building over infrastructure.
9. Baltimore, Maryland
Hours lost: 84
Rush hour: 6–10 a.m. and 4–8 p.m.
Worst time to drive: Holiday weekends.
Road(s) to avoid: Avoid I-695 if possible.
Why: Officials blame the outdated signal system. An “antiquated” network of traffic signals is contributing to traffic in the busier Baltimore neighborhoods as well as downtown.
8. Portland, Oregon
Hours lost: 89
Rush hour: 7:15 a.m. – 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Worst time to drive: 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 am.
Road(s) to avoid: I-5 if possible. Also note: the 3.5 mile-stretch from Denney Road to Interstate 5 gets choked up for 5 hours and 15 minutes a day.
Why: The growing population and construction.
7. San Francisco, California
Hours lost: 97
Rush hour: Typical rush hour times are 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Worst time to drive: Downtown traffic and traffic to the Bay Bridge and Golden Gate Bridge are the worst, between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m.
Road(s) to avoid: Lombard Street. It is an iconic San Francisco street and traffic is usually gridlocked.
Why: The city is surrounded on 3 sides by water, and it is only 49 square miles. Unable to expand outward and having a million people and growing population squeeze in, causes the traffic to grow.
6. Los Angeles, California
Hours lost: 103
Rush hour: Weekdays 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Worst time to drive: Fridays 5 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Road(s) to avoid: I-405 or using the route: I-101 to I-134 to I-110.
Why: L.A. is one of the worst cities for traffic in the US because the city’s population density is increasing, which means more and more people are sharing the same amount of space in the city.
5. Washington, D.C.
Hours lost: 124
Rush hour: 6 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., and 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Worst time to drive: Rush hours on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.
Road(s) to avoid: The Woodrow Wilson Bridge and the American Legion Bridge, and the intersection of New York Ave. and Florida Avenue NE.
Why: The road system in DC proper is terrible, especially the diagonal intersections with N-S and E-W streets.
4. New York City, New York
Hours lost: 140
Rush hour: 7 a.m. to 9 a.m., and 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Worst time to drive: In and out of Manhattan between 8-9 a.m. and 3-7 p.m.
Road(s) to avoid: Taconic State Parkway and I-87.
Why: The constrained street space in Manhattan and the practically unlimited demand to use it.
3. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Hours lost: 142
Rush hour: 7-9:30 a.m., and 3:30-6 p.m.
Worst time to drive: 6 a.m.
Road(s) to avoid: Interstate 676 between I-95 and I-76 or on state Route 611 between the Pennsylvania Turnpike and I-95 especially during rush hour.
Why: More people, more construction, more drivers, and more businesses all contribute to the morass.
2. Chicago, Illinois
Hours lost: 145
Rush hour: 7:30-930 a.m. and 4-6 p.m.
Worst time to drive: Thursday and Friday in the evenings.
Road(s) to avoid: I-90/I-94 from Dan Ryan Expressway/Chicago Skyway junction, and from Claybourn to West Division Street (North of City).
Why: The high concentration of destinations within Chicago’s dense downtown. Also, Chicago is one of the worst cities for traffic in the US during the summer because of the amount of construction work they do during that season.
1. Boston, Massachusetts
Hours lost: 149
Rush hour: 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. and from 3:00 P p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Road(s) to avoid: Route 2 Far West between I-91, Greenfield and Routes 110 and 111, Harvard.
Why: “Boston” is part of a densely packed coalition of cities and towns that which contain 4-5 million residents. Population growth and the lack of coordinated planning also contribute to the factor of why this city has the worst traffic in America.