Study: Boston, D.C., Chicago worst U.S. cities for traffic congestion

Feb. 12 (UPI) — The Global Traffic Scorecard ranked Boston, Washington, D.C., and Chicago as the worst U.S. cities for congestion, a problem that costs the country $87 billion a year.

Americans lost 97 hours in traffic congestion last year, an average of $1,348 per driver, costing the country $87 billion in lost productivity, according to the scorecard from traffic consulting firm INRIX.

The mobility study ranked six continents, 38 countries and more than 200 cities. Boston, Washington and Chicago were the top three cities in the United States for congestion on the scorecard.

Drivers lost 155 hours in traffic congestion in Washington last year, an average cost of $2,161 per driver, INRIX analysts said. In Chicago, drivers lost 138 hours, an average cost of $1,920 per driver. In Boston, those figures stood at 164 hours and $2,291.

Boston also ranked as the eighth worst urban area for congestion in the world. It was the only U.S. city ranked in the 10 worst worldwide.

The report noted that in Boston and Washington, drivers experience over 15 hours of congestion per year more than Chicago.

“Their geography, age and density create a road network that enters a severe state of breakdown once traffic strikes,” the report said of Boston and Washington.

“Traffic is still really bad out there,” INRIX transportation analyst Trevor Reed told CNBC. “Old cities that did not develop around cars and driving have the worst congestion.”

Worldwide, Moscow had the highest congestion with 210 hours lost. Russia’s capital was followed by Istanbul, Turkey, and Bogota, Columbia.

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