Los Angeles Business Journal

L.A. Tops Congestion Ranking for U.S., Global Cities

By Howard Fine Monday, February 20, 2017

The L.A. metro area has topped a list of the world’s most gridlocked cities, according to a report issued late Sunday.

L.A. area motorists spent an average 104 hours in congestion during peak traffic periods last year, according to the 2016 Global Traffic Scorecard from Inrix, a Kirkland, Wash.-based provider of connected car services and transportation analytics.

That put Los Angeles ahead of No. 2 Moscow (91 hours a year in congestion), New York (89 hours), San Francisco (83 hours), and Bogota, Colombia (80 hours). The U.S. had 11 of the 25 worst cities around the globe for traffic congestion.

“Los Angeles drivers spend more time in congestion compared to anywhere else in the world due to a mixture of factors, including significant population growth, a high employment rate, high productivity and lack of alternative public transportation options,” Bob Pishue, senior economist with Inrix, said in a statement.

In the nine years Inrix has compiled the traffic congestion scorecard, last year was the first time the number of hours Los Angeles drivers spent on average trapped in peak-hour congestion topped 100. Exact figures from previous years were not released because Inrix changed the metrics and parameters for this year’s survey.

The 104 hours that L.A. drivers spent on average last year trapped in congestion cost each driver $2,400 in fuel, wasted time, and other costs, resulting in a cumulative cost of $9.6 billion a year, the report said.

But if it’s any consolation, Angelenos only spent about 13 percent of their total drive time in congestion, way behind Moscow (25 percent) and Bogota (31 percent), though on a par with New York and San Francisco.

Surprisingly, only one L.A. area highway made the list of the 10 most congested roads in the U.S.: the 10 Freeway between the 110 and 405 freeways. The most congested was Interstate 95 in the Bronx borough of New York.

Public policy and energy reporter Howard Fine can be reached at hfine@labusinessjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter @howardafine.