How much of your precious vacation time are you willing to sacrifice to traffic congestion? That’s a question you should ask yourself before booking a rental car in any of the following cities, which have the worst traffic in the U.S. according to a study by INRIX, a “leader in mobility analytics and connected car services.”
The Worst Traffic in the U.S. Is In…
INRIX reports that the most traffic-congested city in the U.S. is Boston, where drivers lose an average of 149 hours a year to congestion. Things aren’t much better in Chicago, where commuters slogged through 145 hours of congestion each year.
Which U.S. cities were the worst? According to the 2019 Global Traffic Scorecard, the 10 most congested American cities, and the number of annual hours lost to congestion (read: stuck in traffic), were:
- Boston – 149 hours
- Chicago – 145 hours
- Philadelphia – 142 hours
- New York City – 140 hours
- Washington, D.C. – 124 hours
- Los Angeles – 103 hours
- San Francisco – 97 hours
- Portland, Oregon – 89 hours
- Baltimore – 84 hours
- Atlanta – 82 hours
Note that the cities were ranked not only by total hours lost to congestion but also other factors such as the cost of congestion per driver.
For travelers, there’s a clear link between congested cities and popular tourist destinations. You’ll want to consider timing your sightseeing to avoid rush hour and using public transportation (or walking) instead of driving while on vacation in these cities.
The Worst U.S. Routes for Traffic Congestion
INRIX also identified America’s most congested roads, and the I-5 in Los Angeles between the I-10 and the I-605 took home this dubious honor. Los Angeles also claimed the number two spot, with the stretch of the 101 between the 134 and the 110. New York City’s Brooklyn Queens Expressway and I-95 claimed the third and fourth spot, and Atlanta’s I-85 rounded out the top five most congested U.S. roads in 2019.
The Worst Traffic Cities in the World
If you think Boston’s delays are bad, you might want to give Bogota and a miss. The Colombian capital was the most congested city in the world, with drivers sitting through a whopping 191 hours of delays a year. Other traffic-choked cities around the world include Rio de Janeiro, Mexico City, Istanbul, and Sao Paulo, with annual hours lost to congestion topping 150 in each.
Do you take local traffic conditions into consideration when choosing trip destinations?
Navigating foreign cities is difficult enough without the traffic. Having a car mount to deter distractions and mitigate risk of an accident is pivotal for these trips- long or short.
More from SmarterTravel:
- The 10 Cities with the Best Public Transportation
- The World’s 12 Most Walkable Cities
- The 5 Hardest and Easiest U.S. Airports to Reach from Downtown
Follow Sarah Schlichter on Twitter @TravelEditor for more travel tips and inspiration.
Editor’s note: This story was originally published in 2018. It has been updated to reflect the most current information. Tim Winship contributed to this story.