The world’s worst traffic

IBM’s "Commuter Pain 2011" survey doesn’t look at the causes of congestion or offer any solutions. Too difficult. Instead, IBM merely asks people how they commute and how much their commute sucks. Congratulations Mexico City, you suck and you know it.

The chart above shows how people in 20 cities react to their commute, with drivers in China and Russia describing traffic that sounds like the premise of a Jacques Tati movie. More than a quarter of respondents in Moscow claim to have spent more than three hours stuck in traffic. And we all know how crazy China is.

Tellingly, the 8,042 people surveyed were people who lived in a major city, were 18-65 years old, and drove a vehicle alone as their main mode of transportation. Considering there are decent transit options in most of these places it means IBM interviewed the people who were mostly to blame for their own congestion.


The Inrix study shows that drivers in other major cities are still spending a fair number of hours stuck in traffic, too. While Los Angeles ranked a close second to Honolulu, those in San Francisco spent almost 48 additional hours in the car because of traffic.

The news wasn’t all bad, though. Inrix says overall congestion was down 30 percent in 2011 from the year before, and notes that of the 100 cities it surveyed, 70 of them logged lower rates of congestion year over year.

These cities had the worst traffic in 2011, according to Inrix, which lists the average hours wasted per driver after each city:

10)      Chicago – 32.8 hours
9)         Boston –  35 hours
8)         Austin – 30 hours
7)         Seattle – 33 hours
6)         Washington, D.C. – 45 hours
5)         Bridgeport, CT – 42 hours
4)         New York – 57 hours
3)         San Francisco – 48 hours
2)         Los Angeles – 56 hours
1)         Honolulu – 58 hours


The study also finds that, nationally, the worst morning commute occurs on Tuesday, while the worst evening commute is on Friday.