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Rush Hour Rankings: Is San Diego Among the Nation’s Worst Commutes?

Texas A&M compiles a list of the longest delays in the country. Of course L.A. is near the top, but farther south the delays are shorter.

A daily dilemma for many Southern California residents is determining how bad the traffic is on any given day and budgeting enough time for the trip. It’s a part of city life, no matter which state you live in.

The Texas A&M Transportation Institute has been analyzing the nation’s traffic patterns for three decades with the annual Urban Mobility Report, ranking which cities have the worst congestion, and San Diego drivers may be surprised at how many places have it worse than we do.

Of the 15 “very large urban” areas in the United States, San Diego came in at No. 14, with only Phoenix having fewer hours of delay per commuter in 2011. Including all 498 urban areas in the study, San Diego was ranked 37, meaning many smaller cities had longer delays, including Austin, Texas, and Columbus, Ohio.

The Texas A&M study found that San Diego commuters sat through 37 hours of delayed traffic on average, compared with the 67 hours recorded in Washington, D.C., a town known for its gridlock.

While the nation’s capitol topped the list of worst commutes, Los Angeles/Long Beach/Santa Ana was tied with San Francisco/Oakland at No. 2, with 61 hours spent in traffic delays per driver in 2011. Rounding out the top five worst commutes were New York and Boston, followed by Houston, Atlanta, Chicago, Philadelphia and Seattle.

The Urban Mobility Report has found that congestion has remained relatively stable in recent years, underscoring the link between traffic and the economy.

Fuel wasted in congested traffic reached a total of 2.9 billion gallons – enough to fill the New Orleans Superdome four times. That’s the same as 2010, but short of the 3.2 billion gallons wasted in 2005.

Frank H. Robles February 06, 2013 at 06:28 AM
So this is why we need the Bullet Train...!!!
William February 06, 2013 at 03:14 PM
You should see Beijing. A 20 mile commute either to or from central Beijing is 4 hours 20/24 hours a day and getting worse. Moscow and Sao Paolo are just as bad. I had to go to bathroom once on a commute in Moscow. It was snowing and it took 6 hours to go what would normally be 45 minutes with no traffic.
William February 06, 2013 at 03:16 PM
Yes, it would really help. So many San Diego commuters go to Bakersfield and Fresno, it would really ease the congestion.
Mark February 07, 2013 at 05:26 AM
No drive in San Diego County is as bad as the 91 freeway between Corona and the 55 in Anaheim. Big parking lot at Christmas.
Ed Sorrels February 08, 2013 at 12:38 AM
Nowhere even close except for several poorly thoughtout intersections and interchanges, They the Calif.Dept. of Hwy's. Did their best but by the time it started to show up it was to late there was no land available to malke the needed improvements. We (San Diego) in the late 40's had one of the first "Freeway's" in the nation, The old 395 thru Balboa Park, We grew and just look at what it has become 70 or so years later! This is happening all across this nation now !

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