US Highway Congestion Has Plunged 62% Since 2007

driving cars traffic

Photo: thienzieyung via Flickr

Recent highway congestion data from INRIX is good for drivers and bad for the economy.Highway congestion has plunged 47 per cent from 2009 and 62 per cent from 2007.

The April 2012 INRIX score tied a record low 5.1, which means that driving during rush hour took on average 5.1 per cent longer than it would have with no congestion. This is a huge falloff from the peak of 13.3.

Of the 100 most congested cities in the country, only 30 saw an increased amount of traffic while the other 70 either had congestion decrease or remain the same, according to the report.

This shift could be explained by rising fuel prices and less Americans driving overall for a variety of reasons, the report says. Fuel prices rose 74 cents per gallon between 2010 and 2011 and have only risen since. There are still 5.2 million fewer jobs in America since the Great Recession began in 2007, and 6 million fewer jobs in the nation’s top 100 urban markets, according to the report, leading to fewer cars on the road.

INRIX also reports that travel on roads referred to as “Urban Interstates” declined 1 per cent in 2011 and public transit use increased by 2 per cent. Meanwhile the number of miles driven by motorists are at the lowest levels since 1999.

So what city has the most congestion? Surprisingly it was the lovely city of Honolulu. Here’s the top 20:

  1. Honolulu
  2. Los Angeles
  3. San Francisco
  4. New York City
  5. Bridgeport, Conn.
  6. Washington, D.C.
  7. Seattle
  8. Austin
  9. Boston
  10. Chicago
  11. Philadelphia
  12. Miami
  13. San Jose
  14. Portland, Ore.
  15. Atlanta
  16. Baltimore
  17. Tampa, Fla.
  18. New Haven, Conn.
  19. San Diego
  20. Dallas

Some experts say the US congestion problem is going to get much worse. Read more here >

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