The average American commuter spends 99 hours per year sitting in traffic, costing them about $1,377, according to INRIX’s 2019 Global Traffic Scorecard released on Monday. Unfortunately for residents of Boston, drivers in the New England city face the worst traffic across the United States. The bustling metropolis keeps its no. 1 title from 2018’s traffic scorecard with drivers losing on average 149 hours sitting in traffic, and about $2,205 per year due to time stuck in traffic.
INRIX is a Washington state-based data company that gathers location-based data and analytics. For its 2019 report, INRIX gathered anonymized observed trips to find the most frequented routes throughout a region, expanding its data from previous years’ reports, which only observed trips to and from a core downtown area.
INRIX then analyzed time loss by looking at peak speed (most congested traffic times), off-peak speed (the low point between peak periods) and free flow speed (the fastest commute time in a 24-hour period) data for busiest commuting routes. Costs of time lost were then calculated by observing individual labor markets, industrial sectors, modes of transportation, trip distance and travel conditions.
Although Boston claimed the most traffic in 2019, Chicago and Philadelphia were not far behind. In Chicago, drivers lost 145 hours in traffic on average, and $2,146 as a result, while in Philadelphia drivers lost 142 hours on average, and $2,102 during that time.
New York City and Washington, DC rounded out the top five most traffic-congested cities with New Yorkers losing 140 hours and $2,072 in traffic and DC residents forgoing 124 hours and $1,835 in traffic.
“Interestingly, the five most congested cities in the U.S. are also the only cities to receive the highest score for public transit trips or to replace car trips,” Trevor Reed, INRIX transportation analyst and author of the report, noted. “It is attributable to these being amongst the oldest and densest cities in the country with much of their development occurring around public transport.”
Globally, Bogota, Columbia; Rio de Janeiro, Mexico City, Istanbul and Sao Paulo have the most congested traffic, which INRIX generally attributed to large populations, urban congestion and a city’s age and infrastructure. Bogota drivers lost an average of 191 hours per year sitting in traffic, those in Rio de Janeiro lost 190 hours in traffic, those in Mexico City lost 158 hours, Istanbul 153 and Sao Paulo 152.
“In general the most congested cities in the world are either older or rapidly growing cities,” Reed stated. “High density development patterns characteristic of pre-automobile cities, as found in the most congested European and North American cities, like Paris and Boston, makes them particularly ill-suited to the movement of vehicles.”
“Congestion costs Americans billions of dollars each year,” Reed said in a related news release. “However, it appears to be stabilizing in the country’s most congested metros — with delays raising roughly three percent nationwide since 2017.”