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20 Cities With the Worst Traffic In the U.S. In 2019


While most people enjoy the freedom of driving their own car, they do not necessarily like to be sitting in traffic for hours each and every day. For millions across the country, however, this is exactly what they are faced with on an almost daily basis. There are some places that simply have too many cars on the roads at any given time with not enough space to accommodate them all. The result is some of the worst traffic that one could imagine. It seems at times as if it would just be faster to get out and walk. What should be a simple ten-minute commute can turn into one that is approaching an hour in some cities. The problem is especially bad for those that live in the suburbs, as the traffic along can add more than two hours to the daily work day. This is time spent away from the family and various life pursuits that are much more fun than simply sitting in traffic. With this is mind, we have put together the following list of 20 cities that have the worst traffic in 2019. See if your city is there.

20. Nashville, Tennessee

Roll your windows and enjoy the fresh air because driving in Nashville is going to cost you about 87 hours a year. That is just getting to and from work. At the peak of rush hour, you are going to be lucky to be able to get up to 16 miles per hour.

19. Denver, Colorado

Denver traffic is 19th worst in the nation, and that does not take into account the snow. You will lose about 83 hours, on average, as you conduct your daily commute. That is bad enough for the 112th worst traffic in the nation, and it will cost you about $1,152 in lost productivity.

18. Honolulu, Hawaii

For the 18th city on our list, we go to our 50th state. Honolulu is beautiful, but it will cost you some driving time to get around. The average driver will spend about 92 hours lost in congestion. Of course, the question is if you are going to work or the beach? That could make quite a difference in terms of your psyche! The fastest you will be going during rush hour is about 12 miles an hour.

17. Tampa, Florida

Tampa is actually a sprawling metropolis that has the 107th worst traffic in the country. If you live and drive here, then you will lose about 87 hours a year as you do your daily drive to and from work. That will cost you about $1,216 a year in time-related expenses.

16. Charlotte, North Carolina

When the leaves start turning in Charlotte, it seems that the traffic only becomes more and more congested. If you live there, then you know what we are talking about. At least the views from the car are lovely. Just make sure you get comfortable, as you are going to spend an average of 95 hours stuck in traffic related congestion over the course of a year. That is 91st worst in the world and 16th worst in America. You will only be going about 12 miles per hour during the thickest part of rush hour.

15. Baltimore, Maryland

If you think being in close proximity to the D.C. area would ease the traffic a bit, you would be mistaken. In fact, the average driver here will lose about 94 hours a year as they travel to and from work. That is bad enough to get it ranked as the 88th worst traffic in the world, and the 15th worst in America. All of that driving will cost you about $1,315 in lost productivity over the course of a year. You will only be driving about 10 miles per hour in the thick of rush hour.

14. Austin, Texas

Austin might be home to great live music, but it is also going to cost you sitting in your car for an average 104 hours a year just looking at congestion. This puts it as the 84th worst congested city in the world and the 14th worst in the United States. The average cost for all of the congestion, per driver, comes out to about $1,452. The inner city travel time will take you five minutes, while you can expect to drive an average of 13 miles per hour during that time.

13. Houston, Texas

Houston is one of two Texas cities on this list, and surprisingly Dallas is not one of them. You will find driving here on a regular basis to cost you about 98 hours in lost time when averaged out over the course of a year. This is enough to get it ranked as number 77 in the world. When it comes to the cost per driver that all of this congestion equates to, you are looking at roughly $1,365. This is due to an inner city travel time of only four minutes, with an average speed per hour of only 15 miles an hour.

12. Miami, Florida

Here is another city where you might be stuck in traffic, but the glimpses of the beach will always give you a glimmer of hope that there is a peaceful existence on the horizon. Driving to and from work (or the beach if you're lucky enough) is going to cost you about 105 hours a year, which equate to $1,470 per driver. That is quite a bit, but again the views could certainly be worse!

11. Atlanta, Georgia

The Peach State is not all serene and low key, especially when it comes to traffic. You will that Atlanta has the 71st worst congestion in the world, making it appear at number 11 on this list of worst American cities for traffic this year. If you drive in the city on a regular basis, you can expect to spend at least 108 hours stuck in congestion. When you are going through the worst of it, you can expect to go no faster than 14 miles per hour.

10. Portland, Oregon

Here is one of the cities on this list that might come as a surprise. Portland is one of only two cities in the Northwest that is so heavily congested. You are going to spend at least 116 hours a year stuck in traffic if you live in the most populated city in Oregon. You are going to be going only about 13 miles an hour in most places during your morning and evening commute. This is ‘good’ enough to get ranked number 70 in the world as well.

9. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Philadelphia is not only home to the Liberty Bell. It is also home to the 9th worse traffic in the United States. This means that you can count on spending roughly 112 hours stuck in congestion as you travel throughout the city. This is an average cost of $1,568 per driver, and the traffic its ranks number 69 in the world. At least the lights are beautiful at night if you are still stuck on the roads at that time!

8. San Francisco, California

The bad news here is that San Francisco, California has the 8th worst traffic in the United States. However, the silver lining here is that the views sure are spectacular as you sit stuck in your morning commute. We suppose that there could be worse places to be. The average driver in San Francisco will spend more than 116 hours in traffic, which gives you a lot of time to gaze out at the bay. You are only to go about 10 miles per hour at best in certain places.

7. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Here we are in one of the oldest and most established cities in the country, yet the traffic is still pretty bad. In fact, in addition to being the 8th worst in the United States, it is ranked number 59 in the world. That equates to the average driver losing about 127 hours as they drive to and from work. This equates to an average of $1,776 in congestion related costs per driver.

6. Seattle, Washington

All of the fog in what Seattle area must really slow the drivers down, as here it lies as the 6th most congested city in America right now. You will need six minutes to travel within the inner city, and drivers in Seattle will lose an average of 138 hours as they are stuck in traffic. That is higher than some of the others lower down on this list, but that has to do with the size of the Metro area.

5. Los Angeles, California

Here is another city that many might have thought would be number one, but it comes in at number five this year. Los Angeles is the 47th most congested traffic city in the world, and that means that its drivers will lose about 128 hours each year stuck in traffic looking for movie stars. At least the scenery is nice as you go. The average travel time within the inner-city is 4 minutes, while you will only be going about 14 miles per hours during that time.

4. New York City, New York

The surprise here is not that New York City is on the list, but that it is surprisingly high at number 4. Okay, that is a cheeky comment, but it is true. New York City traffic is notorious around the world, with drivers here losing an average of 133 hours per year during their daily commutes. What saves them is that the public transportation system is so developed. Perhaps that is where you should be if you are tired of the traffic.

3. Chicago, Illinois

There are many good reasons why Chicago comes in third on this list. It is one of the largest cities in America but has one of the most condensed downtown areas. That means there are a lot of cars trying to move around at the same time, every workday of the year. This city has an international ranking of 23 when it comes to traffic, primarily because drivers lose an average of 138 hours per year by sitting in traffic.

2. Washington, D.C.

After reading these statistics, it will come as no surprise that the federal government seems to move so slow at times. Washington D.C. is actually the 19th most congested city in the world right now, and the second most in the United States. The average driver in the District will spend 155 hours a year stuck in traffic, which equates to a cost of $2,161 per person. That is quite a bit just for the privilege of sitting in your car watching the minutes go by.

1. Boston, Massachusetts

If you live in Boston, you are really going to spend some time stuck in traffic. It might surprise some readers that this is the number ranked city in America for 2019, but it is what it is. Boston is actually ranked #8 internationally in terms of being the most congested city. The average commuter will lose 164 hours per year by being stuck in traffic. This creates a cost of $2,291 per driver, particularly as they are stuck with inner-city travel time of only six minutes. Get comfortable as you start your daily drive.

So, there you have it. These are the 20 worst cities in the United States to drive in from a traffic related perspective. You are likely to spend quite a bit of time in your car if you live in one of these area, so make sure you have a comfortable car to do so. Do any of the cities surprise you? Which cities are not on this list that you though would be? Hopefully, traffic will gradually become better in the future, but we would not hold our breath for that outcome.

Liz Flynn

Written by Liz Flynn

Liz Flynn has worked as a full-time writer since 2010 after leaving a career in education. She finds almost all topics she writes about interesting, but her favorite subjects are travel and food. Liz loves the process of researching information, learning new things, and putting into words what others who share her interests might like to read. Although she spends most of her time writing, she also enjoys spending time with her husband and four children, watching films, cooking, dining out, reading, motorsports, gaming, and walking along the beach next to her house with her dog.

Read more posts by Liz Flynn

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