Study ranks top congested freeway corridors in US

A new study from the Texas Transportation Institute analyzed traffic data from 328 congested corridors throughout the country to come up with a comprehensive breakdown of the nation's worst offenders.

How congested are your city's highways?

Although it may come as little surprise to residents of Los Angeles, the city's metro area is home to seven of the top ten most congested corridors in the country. San Francisco and New York have the dubious honor of rounding out the top ten, according to the Texas Transportation Institute's (TTI) 2011 Congested Corridors Report.

INRIX, which provided traffic data analytics, defined a congestion corridor as a stretch of freeway at least three miles long, and with 10 or more hours of congestion per week.

“Until now, we’ve been able to measure average congestion levels,” said TTI Research Engineer Bill Eisele, “but congestion isn’t an ‘average’ problem. Commuters and truckers are understandably frustrated when they can’t count on a predictable trip time from day to day.”

The report considered congestion in 328 corridors, at various times of day. Problems with congestion were considered not only based on your usual stop-and-go traffic, but also by the predictability - or lack thereof - of traffic problems in certain corridors. The report provides tables ranking the most congested and most unreliable corridors, as well as several other categories. The chart below shows country's top congested corridors.

Among the report's findings, the 328 corridors under consideration account for 36 percent of US urban freeway congestion, while amounting to only 6 percent of the country's freeway lane-miles.

Researchers are optimistic that, as the first nationwide evaluation of the reliability of travel times, these findings will help planners evaluate where infrastructure improvements might have the greatest impact.

“If cities and states make the right investments in our most congested highway corridors, the return on those investments will be substantial,” said study author Tim Lomax. “Not only will we see more reliable trips for travelers and trucks, but we can also expect to see greater productivity and more jobs.”

Who's excited to hit the highways this Thanksgiving?

Photo: Flickr/Richard Masoner

via [Texas Transportation Institute]

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