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The Northeast Cities With the Most Traffic Congestion

Every city has its share of traffic jams, but not all gridlock is created equal.

If you feel as though your commute is the worst in the world, you may be correct, particularly if you’re from the Northeast.

The average American lost about 97 hours — or just over four days — due to congestion in 2018, according to transportation research firm INRIX in its annual Global Traffic Scorecard.

Boston tops the list, at 164 hours lost. In fact, Boston is the only U.S. city to be included in the top 10 ranking of most congested cities worldwide, placing eighth between Rio de Janeiro and Saint Petersburg, Russia. New York City drivers, in contrast, lost about 133 hours, good for fifth-worst in America.

U.S. Urban Areas With The Most Traffic Congestion in 2018

(hours lost in congestion in parentheses)
1. Boston (164)
2. Washington, D.C. (155)
3. Seattle (138)
4. Chicago (138)
5. New York City (133)
6. Los Angeles (128)
7. Pittsburgh (127)
8. Portland, Ore. (116)
9. San Francisco (116)
10. Philadelphia (112)

But New York City did win the dubious award for the slowest of all American cities, with ‘last mile’ speeds averaging 9 mph – meaning it’s probably quicker to ride a bike than to drive or take a bus.

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The report also looks at the most congested roads in America and (unsurprising to New Yorkers) the Cross Bronx Expressway took the top spot for the fourth year in a row. Drivers wasted a total of 114 hours per year at peak hours on that stretch of road, according to the report.

Boston’s I-93 corridor was the seventh-most congested U.S. road, while New York’s Brooklyn Queens Expressway and Major Deegan Expressway also made it onto the top 10.

The 10 Most Congested U.S. Roads in 2018

(yearly delay, in hours, in parentheses)
1. New York City’s Cross Bronx Expressway (114)
2. Chicago’s I-94/I-90 corridor (102)
3. Chicago’s Eisenhower Expressway (93)
4. Los Angeles’ I-10 (74)
5. Pittsburgh’s I-376 (72)
6. Philadelphia’s I-76 (53)
7. Boston’s I-93 (53)
8. New York City’s Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (51)
9. Los Angeles’ I-5 (50)
10. New York City’s Major Deegan Expressway (49)

But if Boston and New York City drivers are looking for a silver lining in the data, just remember, it can always be worse. You could live in Moscow, the most congested city in the world, where the average driver loses 210 hours stuck in congestion each year.

Do you agree with the data, or is your commute even worse than those listed above? Let us know in the comments below!

Comments
  • John D.

    Put electronic tolls on I-93 and use funds to improve public transportation and watch the statistics change. Why do only drivers in western suburbs pay to use roads?

  • Thomas H.

    I 93 in Boston should be broken into two segments, since most commuters only travel one half (the road goes THROUGH Boston). Both halves are very congested.

  • Carol Y.

    I95 in CT is horrible. Always so congested that live traffic maps consistently are red, all day and evening! I used to live in CT and now happily live in NY. Traffic congestion in and going to NYC is a breeze compared with I95 in CT!

  • Todd W.

    Can we suggest the whole of Long Island — and maybe the Bronx River and Hutchinson River parkways in Westchester?

  • Stephen B.

    So what is AAA, as a representative of drivers, doing to help ameliorate this congestion? Are you lobbying for road improvements?

  • William A.

    Obviously the author has never been on the Van Wyck Expressway north from JFK to Kew Gardens. It takes less time to fly to London.

  • Matthew T.

    Boston just gets worse and worse and worse. Now I don’t go into the city unless I absolutely need to.

  • Richard D.

    WE COULD JUST LIST EVERY HIGHWAY AND PARKWAY IN NYC AND LONG ISLAND. WORSE THAN THAT ARE THE PEOPLE WHO DRIVE ON THE THRUWAY AND DON’T ACCELERATE WHEN THEY ARE GOING UPHILL. ALL OF THE CARS SLOW DOWN BECAUSE PEOPLE DO NOT KNOW HOW TO USE CRUISE CONTROL. LAST YEAR I WAS DRIVING SOUTH ON THE THRUWAY FROM EXIT 19 AND THE TRAFFIC WAS MOVING SMOOTHLY AT ABOUT 70 MPH. EVERY TIME WE WENT UPHILL IT WOULD SLOW DOWN TO 30 MPH AT THE TOP OF THE HILL AND THEN GO BACK UP WHEN WE STARTED GOING DOWNHILL. I CAN’T BELIEVE HOW MANY PEOPLE DON’T KNOW HOW TO DRIVE ON A HIGHWAY AND EVEN LESS ABOUT CRUISE CONTROL

  • Marie C.

    I spent 20+ years in Los Angeles. The 405 is the absolute worst. Surface streets at rush hour move faster. Now that I’m in MA, everything is a piece of cake…well almost…

  • Marie G.

    WBZ AM radio has a promo that mentions “Boston is an hour from Boston”, followed by a commenter saying “It’s only funny because it is true.” Love the self-deprecating humor!

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