Los Angeles area can claim the worst traffic in America. Again – Los Angeles Times

Yet again, Southern California has reclaimed the dubious distinction of having the worst traffic in the United States.

Drivers in the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana region spent 81 hours idling in traffic last year, the most of any U.S. metropolitan area, according to a new study from the data company Inrix.

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The area also has four of the world’s most congested freeway segments. Those are the eastbound 101 Freeway between Topanga Canyon Boulevard and Vignes Street; the 5 Freeway between Highway 133 in Orange County and Olympic Boulevard in Los Angeles; the 10 Freeway between the city of Santa Monica and Alameda Street; and the westbound 101 Freeway between the 60 Freeway and Haskell Avenue.

The 101 eastbound sees the worst delays of any freeway in Los Angeles. On Wednesdays at 8 a.m., the most congested period, drivers move an average of 17 mph and spend 58 minutes longer in their cars than they would if traffic were free-flowing.  Drivers on that section of the 101 spend 133 hours per year — about 5½ days —  sitting in traffic.


On the 35-mile stretch of the 5 between the Antelope Valley and downtown, traffic is worst at 5 p.m. on Thursdays, Inrix says. Anyone driving then faces about 57 minutes of delay behind the wheel, crawling at an average speed of 25 mph.

The eastbound 10 and the westbound 101 see their worst congestion on Thursday nights, one of L.A.’s worst periods for traffic. Drivers on those routes wasted more than 45 minutes per trip in traffic jams, Inrix said.

The study did not include surface streets.

In San Francisco and Washington, the second-worst places to commute by car, drivers wasted about five hours less than in Los Angeles. (Spending 76 hours in traffic is actually an improvement for the average D.C. driver, who spent 82 hours idling behind the wheel in 2014.)

Although it’s little comfort for those stuck behind the wheel, researchers say heavier traffic is often a sign of a healthy economy.

Congestion levels across the country fell during the Great Recession, when fewer people were running errands and commuting to 9-to-5 jobs.

Although L.A.’s unemployment rate was 5.9% in 2015, slightly above the national average, the rate is declining—a sign, researchers say, that people are getting back to work and back on the roads.

Last year, Americans drove a record 3.15 trillion miles.

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The Los Angeles region doesn’t have the worst traffic in the world, though. That honor goes to London, where drivers spent 101 hours stuck in traffic last year.

laura.nelson@latimes.com

For more transportation news, follow @laura_nelson on Twitter.

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