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Cars and Transportation

Los Angeles top for traffic

February 20, 2017

A US study shows that drivers in Los Angeles spend the most time stuck in traffic of any in the world. Although it was mostly US cities that scored badly for congestion, three European cities are also highly clogged.

USA Stau in Los Angeles
Image: picture-alliance/AP Photo/J. C. Hong

Drivers in Los Angeles spent 104 hours last year staring at the bumper of the car in front, according to a study by transportation analytics firm Inrix, making them the longest-suffering road users in the world when it comes to congestion.

The study, released on Monday, showed the United States had 5 of the 10 most traffic-clogged areas in the world. It also had the worst congestion among rich, developed economies, with drivers there spending an average of 42 hours per year fighting slow traffic.

Moscow took second place, with motorists sitting in traffic jams for 91 hours, followed by New York on 89. However, Moscow drivers had it worst in terms of the percentage of driving time spent in congested traffic, at 25.2 percent compared with 12.7 percent for those in Los Angeles

All the other cities on the so-called Global Traffic Scorecard were either in North or South America, except for London in seventh place and Paris in ninth.

The study did not rank cities in either Japan or China, as Inrix does not gather its own data there, but still covered 1,064 cities worldwide across 38 countries.

Lower quality of life

According to Inrix, traffic jams cost the average US driver $1,400 (1,318 euros) last year, and nearly $300 billion (28 billion euros) for all drivers nationwide.

The study authors pointed out that increased traffic and congestion worldwide in 2016 had lowered the quality of life, but said the situation was not likely to improve in the near future.

"The demand for driving is expected to continue to rise, while the supply of roadway will remain flat," wrote Bob Pishue, senior economist at Inrix, in a statement.

He suggested that governments use traffic data and technology to improve traffic flow and consider building more road space.

tj/rc (Reuters, AP)