Worst Commutes Listed in Painful Detail

By Stephen Markley  on March 22, 2011

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At some point most commuters have probably been sitting in traffic wondering if they are in fact on the worst stretch of highway in the U.S. While no one can actually do much about your nightmarish commute, we can at least quantify how awful it is.

Using several different metrics, the Daily Beast went to the painstaking task of cataloging all of America’s worst traffic corridors. The measurements include the length of the corridor, the longest rush-hour travel time of that corridor and the time it takes to drive a mile during the worst rush-hour period of that stretch of road.

They also calculated the rush-hour travel tax, which is how much additional time it takes during rush hour to make it down the freeway. A particularly bad offender, for instance, is the California Delta Highway/CA-4 going westbound in San Francisco, which takes 318% longer to drive its worst corridor (Hillcrest Avenue through Somersville Road, if you’re interested) during rush hour than it does normally.

One might ask, “How do you calculate how much a specific commute sucks?”

The traffic-tracking firm INRIX culled information from 4 million vehicles across the country using GPS and smartphone data (George Orwell, eat your heart out). The Daily Beast then ranked the list based off of INRIX’s Travel Time Tax.

That may sound like a lot of data and work just to figure out that, yes, you must sit through this #%&! traffic a little while longer.

It should come as no surprise that five of the top 20 worst freeways call California home, but several cities with green reputations made the list, including Austin, Texas, Portland, Ore., and Honolulu. New York and its outlying Connecticut suburbs don’t sound like a whole lot of fun either, and much to the chagrin of the Cars.com office, Chicago’s fabled traffic black hole known as the Kennedy/Dan Ryan (Interstates 90 and 94, eastbound) came in at No. 10.

America’s 50 Worst Commutes (The Daily Beast)

1. Riverside Freeway/Calif. Highway 91 eastbound, Los Angeles

2. Lunalilo Freeway/I-1 eastbound, Honolulu

3. California Delta Highway/Calif. Highway 4 westbound, San Francisco

4. I-95 southbound, Washington, D.C.

5. Bruckner/Cross Bronx Expressways (I-95 southbound), New York

6. I-35 southbound, Austin-Round Rock

7. Connecticut Turnpike (I-95 northbound), Bridgeport

8. I-405 southbound, Seattle

9. Bayshore Freeway (U.S. 101 southbound), San Jose, Calif.

10. Kennedy/Dan Ryan Expressways (I-90/I-94 eastbound), Chicago

11. I-5 northbound, Portland, Ore.

12. Calif. Highway 78 eastbound, San Diego

13. I-494 eastbound, Minneapolis

14. Southwest/Eastex Freeways (U.S. 59 northbound), Houston

15. Southeast Expressway (I-93 northbound), Boston

16. Hampton Roads Beltway (I-64 westbound), Virginia Beach, Va.

17. Baltimore Beltway Inner Loop (I-695 eastbound), Baltimore

18. Schuylkill Expressway (I-76 westbound), Philadelphia

19. North Freeway (I-35W northbound), Dallas

20. Ventura Freeway (U.S. 101 northbound), Oxnard, Calif



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