North American Congestion Index: Los Angeles has the worst traffic in North America

July 13, 2012 | 0 Comments

 Los Angeles tops TomTom’s list of most congested cities again this year.

July 13, 2012 — TomTom’s North American Congestion Index has Los Angeles, California, as the number one worst city for traffic congestion, retaining its ranking from last year. With a 33% congestion level and an average of a 40 minute delay per hour of driving during peak periods, Los Angeles drivers commuting for 30 minutes daily should experience an additional 92 hours per year sitting in traffic.

While some believe that such studies spur governmental action, an official for the Southern California Association of Governments, the organization responsible for route planning in six southern California counties including Orange County, says that the TomTom study does a great disservice to the state and the region, and that the Association “not make policy decisions based on their data, period.” Despite overwhelming problems with congestion in Los Angeles, it seems that those responsible will not take action for quite some time.

Signs such as this are prevalent on Los Angeles streets. 

Despite Los Angeles’ reluctance to stabilize the heavy congestion on its roads, other cities throughout the United States and Canada have made strides in traffic reduction. The list of cities that saw a significant decrease in clogged roads includes New York, Boston, and Minneapolis.  Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada was ranked the second worst city for traffic congestion in North America, marginally following Los Angeles with a congestion rating of 33%.

Despite traffic’s dreaded reputation, heavy congestion on roads is generally a sign of economic growth, as people take to the road for work commutes or tourism.  When traffic volume remains stagnant over the years, it is usually reflective of a slow-going or stagnant economic period. Some cities that saw traffic increases this year included Seattle, Houston, San Francisco, and Miami.


Despite the inconvenience of congestion, clogged roads can be a sign of a better economy

While research has shown that job and economic growth comes at the expense of more minutes wasted sitting and traffic, cities such as Los Angeles have remained the most congested for years, with little change. A sizable portion of LA’s roads need to be reworked to ease congestion, but with an unwilling transit authority, economic downturn may be the only cause of decreased traffic on Los Angeles roads and freeways.

– S. Walsh

Category: News