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New York Overtakes Los Angeles as City With the Most Traffic

New York City drivers spent an average of 56 hours in traffic in 2020, the most in the country. Boston was second.

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A new study by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute found New York City to have the worst traffic of any city in the United States. While this likely comes as little surprise to Northeast drivers, it marks a historic end for Los Angeles’ reign as the king of snarling roadways. For nearly three decades, the annual Urban Mobility Report listed the West coast city atop its traffic rankings.

The results were based on the total amount of hours drivers were delayed in 2020. Motorists in the New York-Newark region spent nearly 500,000 hours stuck in traffic, compared to the roughly 365,000 hours those in the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim did.

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The report also looked at the average time drivers spent in traffic, and again, New York reigned supreme. The average Big Apple motorist spent an average of 56 hours in traffic in 2020. Boston came in second with an average of 50 hours, followed by Houston, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

As high as these numbers are, they represent a sharp decrease from years past. Nationwide, traffic totals dropped to some of the lowest levels seen in the last 30 years. From 2019 to 2020, the average number of hours motorists spent in traffic in most major cities was cut in half. This, of course, was mostly the result of the COVID-19 pandemic forcing people to work from home. “Flexible work hours and reliable internet connections allow employees to choose work schedules that are beneficial for meeting family needs and the needs of their jobs,” report co-author David Schrank said. “And it also reduces the demand for roadway space, which is beneficial for the rest of us.”

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Comments
  • Mike M.

    Thank goodness billons of dollars were spent on the “Big Dig” or Boston would be in first place.

    Reply
  • Kevin F.

    Boston has moved up to number two in the nation which is no surprise to those of us who live in eastern Massachusetts. I guess that 18 billion dollars (that’s Billion!) they “sunk” into the Big Dig was money well spent wasn’t it!!

    Reply
  • Bette B.

    As usual I am willing to share my experiences dealing with traffic!! The only good thing is I use mine to communicate with family members scattered all over the globe. Additionally I use it listen to my books on audio or ????

    Reply
  • John M.

    Does the study add in the built in delays by the hours when the State assigns road construction, repairs out of the blue with no prior notice and detour routes? NY seems to be the King of OBTW when it comes to crews showing up on a highway out of the blue during primetime hours, no advanced warning in general and grind traffic to a halt for work that we watch happening and say, really, 5 mile back up for that? NY, another black eye for the being the most screwed up state in the east coast. What an honor.

    Reply
  • Karl S.

    How are these numbers calculated? I live in suburban Boston. When I was working, I spent far more than 100 hours in traffic yearly. My daily commute alone was 1.5 to 3 hours.

    Reply
  • Paulita

    It is the worse I have ever seen. The traffic patterns that has been created in NYC make no sense at all. The bike lanes and the extended curbs takes an entire lane from cars. Leaving only one lane for cars in both directions. Whatever genius thought this was good, is dead wrong. Let’s not forget the doubles parked cars. OMG!!

    Reply
    • Stephen G.

      It is all by design to make traffic so bad people will use public transportation instead, which of course has its own problems.

      Reply
    • Maybe it’s deliberate. Absurd restrictions and bike lanes are a way of impeding driving and reducing traffic volume. Several mayors have tried but failed to close parts of Manhattan to traffic and to impose other restrictions on driving. Maybe this is a sneaky way to achieve their goals

      Reply
    • Its designed that way, bloomberg started it, and when he did he said he was following the Switzerland model to combat polition caused by cars. He said all of this, its not maybe or why is this happening, his goal was to make it so miserable to drive, that people would have no choice but to take public transportation. Deblasio just kept it going, since its a way of getting congestion pricing past

      Reply
  • Jim B.

    Those complaining about Boston’s Big Dig should know that without it, things would be MUCH worse. Traffic has increased because downtown Boston is growing rapidly with many new residential high-rises in formerly marginal areas…I’m amazed by the development thanks in part to our growing knowledge economy and hipness of urban living. Throw in all the Uber and Lyft drivers either giving rides or circling around waiting for the next one and there you go.

    Reply
  • Boston traffic is completely miserable. Archaic road structure, never-ending road work for roads and infrastructure that never seem to actually get repaired.

    Reply
  • It’s clear that city governments want us out of our cars, and onto bicycles and mass transit.
    Not that you’ll find those same officials anywhere but in the back seat of their limos.

    Reply
  • In the forty years I have lived here, I have never known the traffic to be so bad.
    I am a pedestrian, a cyclist and a motorist. The removal of parking spaces to create bus lanes, and bicycle paths, as well as city bike areas in the streets, coupled with restaurant dining areas in the streets, has made living walking, driving and parking in NYC a nightmare! Then there’s the 10 second delay on the the traffic lights? Nobody knows when to walk or drive? Ridiculous!
    Then there is the lawlessness, Motorcycle’s not stopping at lights, Bicycles going in any direction they choose, and of course pedestrians walking with total disregard of anyone’s right of way! A disaster!
    Who is the genius responsible for this?

    Reply
    • Spyint H.

      Bill Diblasio got the program’s name correct…Vision Zero!

      Reply
    • Much of this could be mitigated with good manners, and, surprise, surprise, The Golden Rule.

      Reply
  • John S.

    New York may have more traffic than Boston, but that doesn’t make New York’s traffic worse than Boston’s. I love the Red Sox, clam chowder and the walk along the Charles, but New Yorkers are generally better drivers than Bostonians. In New York you KNOW the other driver is going to leap at an opening; in Boston you can’t be sure what kind of maneuver the other driver is going to pull.

    Reply

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