Highways, serving as parking lots, are the primary cause of folks arriving late to jobs, appointments, or barely making it home for dinner. Traffic jams are a daily source of frustration in our lives in these 15 U.S. cities.
The National Center for Statistics and Analysis (NCSA), an office of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), is responsible for providing a wide range of analysis and statistical support to NHTSA and highway safety advocacy groups.
According to traffic analysis experts inside NCSA of NHTSA, ranked below are the top 15 U.S. cities, having the highest daily rush hour traffic delays in the country.
NHTSA defines a delay as “anything causing a time constraint.” It can be a traffic congestion or a traffic jam, a highway construction zone, or a motor vehicle accident up ahead.
The shortest distance between two points is under construction.” ~Noelie Altito
Transportation engineers daily examine in these 15 U.S. cities the physical capacity of their highways — the maximum amount of traffic capable of being handled by a given highway section.
Capacity is determined by a number of factors, which include (1) the number and width of lanes and shoulders; (2) merge areas at interchanges; and (3) roadway alignment (grades and curves), so say traffic reliability experts at the Federal Highway Administration. Toll booths can also cause traffic bottlenecks, because they restrict the physical flow of traffic.
Traffic jams can also be caused by driver behavior. Transportation engineering research has shown that drivers familiar with routinely congested roadways space themselves closer together than drivers on less congested highways. This leads to an increase in the amount of traffic that can be handled on a stretch of highway or freeway interchange.
The Federal Highway Administration defines traffic congestion as “an excess of vehicles on a portion of roadway at a particular time resulting in speeds that are slower — sometimes much slower — than normal or “free flow” speeds.
Traffic congestion often means ‘stopped’ or ‘stop-and-go traffic’,” keeping folks stuck in traffic on the highways of our nation’s great cities.
Life is too short for traffic.” ~Dan Bellack
So, starting from the bottom to the top of the list,
Here are the top 15 U.S. cities stuck in traffic:
#15 Philadelphia: Traffic in this city has no place to go, but of course, better than when this spaghetti junction is full at rush hour.
#14 Miami: The I-95 interstate freeway and state road 826 Palmetto Expressway are constant parking lots.
#13 Dallas: The I-35 East / I-30 Mix-master interchange, the I-30 freeway east of downtown, and the I-635 interchange are called by Dallas commuters as “hell-on-earth.”
#12 Houston: Negotiating the I-10 / I-45 / I-610 interchange during downtown rush hour calls for constant planning ahead.
#11 Atlanta: The I-75 / I-85 interchange takes on 130,000 vehicles over the nation’s most congested 11-mile daily rush hour stretch.
#10 San Jose: Maximum capacity long rush hour traffic jams to nowhere are a daily mainstay in the San Francisco Bay area.
#9 Boston: The I-93 expressway rush hour traffic jams can cause delays up to 45 minutes, in spite of the $6 billion dollar “Big Dig” rerouting and expansion that was designed to provide Bostonian commuters some traffic congestion relief.
#8 Seattle: The only I-5 expressway into the heart of downtown Seattle is the nation’s second most congested 11-mile daily rush hour stretch behind Atlanta.
#7 Washington, DC: Thursday evening 5-7 pm rush hour period is a Washingtonian commuter nightmare on the I-495 Beltway and I-95 freeway in the nation’s capitol.
#6 Bridgeport, CT: Containing the front door highway traffic throughput into New York City, Bridgeport’s I-95 freeway carries 100,000 vehicles during rush hour daily.
#5 New York City: Besides this lack of roadway choices during rush hour in “The Big Apple,” there is underneath the oldest and largest subway train system in the nation.
#4 Austin: This city’s only toll-free expressway, I-35 is constantly log-jammed daily.
#3 San Francisco: Northbound U.S. 101, leading to the iconic Golden Gate Bridge and I-80, leading to the Bay Bridge, are torturous to San Francisco-Oakland-Berkeley commuters during rush hour, as well as, Southbound U.S. 101 leading to the South Bay Area, and into 10th-ranked San Jose’s traffic jam is equally tormenting to commuters.
#2 Honolulu: With 1,850 inhabitants per square mile, Honolulu’s daily rush hour traffic delays average about 59 minutes; so planning in paradise is a priority for party-going vacationers.
#1 Los Angeles: I-405 and I-105 approaching Los Angeles International Airport seems nearly a 24/7 highway parking lot, allowing few openings of relief for freeway expansions and maintenance, as year-round highway construction is a never-ending nightmare for commuters.
A driver is a king on a vinyl bucket-seat throne, changing direction with the turn of a wheel, changing the climate with a flick of the button, and changing the music with the switch of a dial.” ~Andrew Malcolm
Some Final Thoughts on National Highway Safety Statistics
For 313,914,000 residents across the U.S., according to the latest available 2012 highway traffic safety statistics compiled by NCSA of NHTSA, motor vehicle traffic crash fatalities amounted to 30,800 persons, traveling 2,969 billion vehicle miles in 265,647,000 registered vehicles, operated by 211,815,000 licensed drivers on the nation’s highways.
Seen another way, this translates to 1.13 fatalities per 100 Million vehicle miles traveled on the country’s highways, 10.69 fatalities per 100,000 residents in the U.S., 12.63 fatalities per 100,000 registered vehicles, and 15.84 fatalities per 100,000 licensed drivers.
Leave sooner, drive slower, live longer.” ~Author Unknown
“Regardless of crash severity, the majority of vehicles in single-and two-vehicle crashes were going straight prior to the crash. The next most common vehicle maneuver differed by crash severity: negotiating a curve for fatal crashes, turning left for injury crashes, and stopped in traffic lane for property-damage-only crashes,” according to NCSA of NHTSA.
The one thing that unites all human beings, regardless of age, gender, religion, economic status or ethnic background, is that, deep down inside, we ALL believe that we are above average drivers.” ~Dave Barry, “Things That It Took Me 50 Years to Learn”
Photo Credits: Odometer.com
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