Boston Had Worst Traffic, Congestion in US in 2018: Study

Drivers in Boston spend more than $2,200 annually thanks to the Hub's traffic and congestion

What to Know

  • Inrix, a transportation data company, released its annual Global Traffic Scoreboard to reveal the cities with the worst traffic.
  • Boston was named the No. 1 city with the worst gridlock, followed by Washington D.C., Chicago, New York City and Los Angeles.
  • During the height of traffic, Boston commuters speed by at 18 mph on average.

Those who have thought to themselves that Boston has the worst traffic in the country are officially right.

Inrix, a transportation data company, crowned Boston as the U.S. city that had the worst gridlock during 2018. The Hub’s newest winning title isn’t exactly the kind of bragging rights Bostonians hope for, but it does offer insight on traffic in the city.

According to the study, Boston city drivers spend $2,291 annually thanks to the cost of congestion and loss of productivity. Not only are they losing money, but time as well. The Hub’s drivers wasted about 164 hours in traffic last year, according to Inrix’s annual Global Traffic Scoreboard.

The peak speed Boston drivers get to cruise during the height of traffic is a humble 18 mph.

"When people chanted 'Beat LA,' I don’t think this is what they had in mind," Chris Dempsey, director of Transpiration for Massachusetts, said in a statement.

Washington D.C. came in second for the worst traffic, followed by Chicago, New York City and Los Angeles.

When ranking cities' congestion and traffic, Inrix considers how much longer it took commuters to travel during the worst traffic hours. The new system used to measure congestion was adopted this year, the Boston Globe reports.

In previous years, Inrix measured traffic throughout the day. The former system dubbed Los Angeles as the city with the worst traffic, but the new measures allowed Boston to surpass LA for the first time.

Inrix collects traffic data from GPS systems, phones and vehicles to conduct the study, according to the Globe.

In response to the report, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said the city’s priority is helping people in general move safely as opposed to just drivers. He called for a stronger regional public transit system, citing that most of the city’s commuters travel from outside of Boston.

In an effort to ease congestion and make more environmentally-friendly transportation accessible, Walsh states the city has been working with the MBTA for more efficient transit, expanded the Bluebikes bike share program and is working on adaptive traffic signals.

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