Los Angelenos speak of their congested freeways much like southeast Texans speak of their hurricanes—with a mixed sense of pride and dread. You would rather not live through the experience, but since you did, you might as well brag about it. “Quit complaining,” I heard from a smirking LA resident before I moved to LA more than 10 years ago. “Your worst traffic conditions are better than our best conditions.”
An ongoing survey by INRIX, a company that tracks traffic data for metropolitan areas worldwide and sells services to navigation device companies such as Garmin, monitors and ranks cities in its Traffic Scorecard. For the twelve trailing months, INRIX ranks Los Angeles as third worst congestion in the world, behind Brussels and Antwerp, and followed by Milano, London, and Paris. Los Angeles can hold its head higher in the U.S. where it ranks number one, followed by Honolulu, San Francisco, Austin, and New York.
INRIX ranks metropolitan areas by calculating time “wasted” in traffic–a different measure than, simply, time “spent” in traffic—for each metro area. The survey determined that average annual hours “wasted” in traffic for Los Angeles drivers was 59, or the equivalent of 1.5 work weeks.
Los Angeles also ranks high in terms of congested corridors, claiming four of the nation’s top ten and six of the top twenty most congested.
The INRIX Scorecard also makes some interesting claims about traffic activity as an economic indicator that I’ll go into in another post. In the meantime, I’ll enjoy my abnormal Los Angeles commute—only eight miles from downtown and fifteen minutes by car—as long as I leave by 6:30 a.m.