INRIX: Seattle is nation’s 6th most congested city; commuters waste an average of 66 hours a year in traffic

A new congestion report from INRIX,  a Kirkland-based global transportation analytics firm, finds Seattle traffic ranks among the nation’s worst. According to the INRIX 2015 Traffic Scorecard, Seattle commuters waste an average of 66 hours a year in traffic. 

City by city, here’s how the top 10 cities in the U.S. with the worst traffic rank in terms of average time wasted per commuter:

  1. Los Angeles, CA – 81 hours
  2. Washington, DC – 75 hours
  3. San Francisco, CA – 75 hours
  4. Houston, TX – 74 hours
  5. New York, NY – 73 hours
  6. Seattle, WA – 66 hours
  7. Boston, MA – 64 hours
  8. Chicago, IL – 60 hours
  9. Atlanta, GA – 59 hours
  10. Honolulu, HI – 49 hours

The report provides a lot of good information, including this infographic and a list of the nation’s most congested corridors (15 of them in the Seattle-Bellevue-Tacoma region).

Seattle’s congestion ranking won’t surprise anyone in the state. In our foundation report we discussed the importance of transportation investment. And we celebrated the Legislature’s passage of a comprehensive transportation package last year. Efforts to improve Seattle area commutes continue. This week Challenge Seattle announced its plans to reduce congestion

INRIX reports that increased traffic comes with economic success.

Cities that have experienced the most economic improvement during the past year are at highest risk for consequences related to worsened traffic conditions, including reduced productivity, higher emissions and increased stress levels. For example, Washington D.C., San Francisco, New York, Seattle and Boston all saw reduced unemployment rates bringing them below the national average of 5.3 percent for 2015.

While it’s true that congestion accompanies economic growth, it’s also true that over time congestion stifles growth. Our Connect priority calls for “an efficient, multimodal transportation system that links Washington’s communities to each other and the world.”

In our latest Scorecard, Washington ranked 38th among the states in transportation performance. We expect that ranking to improve as a result of the new transportation investment.