Study: Traffic Worst in Los Angeles

As you gradually slip into gridlock-induced madness this week during your daily commute, try to think of it this way: At least people have jobs to go to. According to INRIX, an international provider of traffic information and driver services, spiking traffic congestion following two years of decline is attributable to a U.S. economy on the mend. The most bountiful beneficiary of this recovery is Los Angeles, where drivers waste the greatest proportion of their lives staring at someone else's brake lights.

INRIX's Traffic Scorecard Annual Report shows that in the first three months of 2013, congestion was up 4% compared with 2012, when it dipped 22%. Traffic was up in 61 of the nation's 100 most-populated cities, while seven of 2012's cities with the worst traffic experienced greater congestion (led by Boston with a 30% spike). Those increases accompanied a 1.3% rise in U.S. employment, the report stated.

"By analyzing traffic in the nation's 100 largest metropolitan areas in 2012, INRIX revealed that drivers wasted an average of 42 hours in America's Top 10 Worst Traffic Cities — the equivalent to one week of vacation," INRIX said in a statement.

Los Angeles' dubious honor of having the crummiest commute was thanks in part to the area gaining 90,000 jobs in February for a growth rate of 2.3%, the fastest year-over-year growth since the nation's recession began about six years ago. L.A. supplanted Honolulu, which had held the title since 2011. The L.A. area lays claim to five of the 10 most congested roads, followed by New York with four and Chicago with one.

INRIX's current Top 10 Worst Cities for Traffic in America in 2012 were:

10. Boston
9. Washington, D.C.
8. Seattle
7. San Jose, Calif.
6. Bridgeport, Conn.
5. New York
4. Austin, Texas
3. San Francisco
2. Honolulu
1. Los Angeles

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News Editor Matt Schmitz is a veteran Chicago journalist indulging his curiosity for all things auto while helping to inform car shoppers.  Email Matt