Traffic jam ( photo)

It’s getting easier to travel on the nation’s roadways, but traffic congestion is still eating up plenty of time for frustrated drivers in major cities like LA, San Francisco, New York and Seattle. A report out today from INRIX found that traffic congestion declined by 30 percent last year, with 70 of the top 100 cities in the country experiencing reductions in commute times.

That followed an increase of 10 percent in 2010. The cities that showed the biggest drop in congestion — Honolulu, LA and San Francisco — had gas prices that exceeded the national average.

Nonetheless, Americans are still spending a lot of time stuck on the roadways. Here’s a look at the top 10 cities for congestion with the number of hours that people spend stuck in their cars each year:

1.       Honolulu (58 hours)

2.       Los Angeles  (56 hours)

3.       San Francisco (48 hours)

4.       New York (57 hours)

5.       Bridgeport, CT (42 hours)

6.       Washington, D.C. (45 hours)

7.       Seattle (33 hours)

8.       Austin (30 hours)

9.       Boston (35 hours)

10.    Chicago (36 hours)

And, just in case you were wondering, the worst time to be on the road in Seattle is Thursday from 5:30 p.m. to 5:45 p.m. Across the country, the worst traffic day happens to be Friday, and the best traffic day is Monday.

INRIX, the Kirkland provider of real-time traffic analysis data, also used the report to release a new iPhone and iPad app that’s designed to help drivers pick the best departure times as well as find the fastest routes home or to work. Kevin Foreman, vice president of consumer applications at INRIX, said the new app is like putting “100 million traffic reporters into the palm of your hand.”

Like what you're reading? Subscribe to GeekWire's free newsletters to catch every headline


  • Ladybugkim

    I’m calling freakonomics on this one. I just moved here from Atlanta in March. Traffic in Atlanta is unreal compared to here. I’ve also lived in Boston, same thing. Traffic here is a joke compared to the 2 I mentioned. If anything, the fact that people drive the speed limit here is causing major gridlock…

    • Guesto

      To your point about Boston, they spend longer in gridlock every year than Seattle.  Where do you commute from that has such little traffic?

    • Mark McLaren

      Agreed these traffic numbers are skewed. There’s no way Seattle is worse than Boston or Chicago, or, I gather, Atlanta.

  • Guest

    Congrats to INRIX on a successful viral! I can’t wait to use this new app. It’s the next best thing to having a functional mass transit system.

  • Forrest

    The numbers don’t seem to add up. Seattle (33 hours). 250 working days/yr, that comes out to an average commute of less than 4 minutes each way. Since this is only for drivers, those who walk, bus or bike to work aren’t part of the equation. The average commute is less than 4 minutes? I think not. That means for each person who has a 60 minute commute, there has to be someone with a ~4 second commute.

    • Isaac Kanoe Kealiipokeo Opedal

      maybe they mean stop and go traffic?

      I have a relatively short commute here in Hawaii, and I spend 40 minutes a day (165 hours/year) commuting to and from work based on that. Probably closer to 200 when you consider going out to job sites and what not.

Job Listings on GeekWork

Find more jobs on GeekWork. Employers, post a job here.