ATLANTA, GA — Every driver in the Atlanta metro knows that the commutes are a nightmare, but you may not know that the traffic is among the worst not only in this country, but in the world. If you’re a driver in the United States, you’re probably intimately familiar with what traffic jams look like, or at least more so than the rest of the developed world. That’s because American drivers spend on average about 41 hours — roughly a whole work week — staring at someone else’s bumper because they’re stuck in traffic, according to a new report by the analytics company INRIX.
That horrid shared experience of inching along on the roadway and braking every few feet cost the United States more than $300 billion last year — an amount roughly the size of Singapore’s whole economy. Atlanta ranked fourth in the United States and tenth in the world for traffic congestion, with each driver spending on average 27 hours a week at peak periods tied up in traffic last year.
Atlanta drivers spent 10 percent of their time sitting in traffic; 17 percent of their time on the road is stuck, on average, on roads within the city. During the morning and evening commutes, area drivers spend 70 hours stuck in congestion on roads into and out of the city.
Massive congestion hurts the economy, too, INRIX said, because it leads to direct costs — wasted time and fuel — and indirect costs, meaning freight and business fees from idling vehicles that are later passed on to households through higher prices.
The average American driver lost more than $1,400 last year due to congestion, the analysis found.
Three of the top five most congested cities on Earth are in America, the company found. Unsurprisingly, Los Angeles — where drivers spent on average 100 hours last year in traffic — ranked No. 1 in the world.
New York City ranked No. 2 with 91 hours and San Francisco ranked fifth worldwide with 79.
One note about Southern drivers. The study says drivers moved more quickly in the South. The top five fastest non-congested speeds during the peak period on highways were all in the South, with Florida having the highest uncongested average speeds in 2017. Drivers in Fort Myers moved the fastest at an average of 68 mph.
INRIX evaluated more than 1,300 cities in 38 countries to come up with its rankings.
Thailand had the highest average amount of time spent in peak congestion at 56 hours, followed by Indonesia at 51 hours, Columbia at 49 hours, and Venezuela at 42.
See how your city stacked up against the rest of the world here.
What’s your take on Atlanta’s traffic? Tell us in comments below.
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