Traffic situations downtown Los Angeles Southern California has, yet again, clinched the dubious distinction of having the country’s worst traffic. Drivers in the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana region spent 81 hours idling on freeways in 2015, the worst cumulative delay of any U.S. metropolitan area.
L.A (Los Angeles) traffic is literally the worst
The findings should come as no surprise to Angelenos. Traffic situations in downtown Los Angeles remains the top concern for Southern California residents, topping personal safety, housing costs and retirement savings, according to a recent Los Angeles Times poll. Although its little comfort for those stuck behind the wheel, researchers have long said that heavier traffic is a sign of a healthier economy. Typically, congestion levels dip during recessions because fewer people have jobs.
The 101 southbound sees the worst delays of any freeway in Los Angeles. On Wednesdays at 8 a.m., the most congested period, drivers move an average of 17 mph and spend 58 minutes longer in their cars than they would if traffic were free-flowing. Drivers on that section of the 101 spend 134 hours per year — about 5 1/2 days — waiting in traffic. The hour of the week with the worst congestion was 4 p.m. Friday, when six of L.A.’s 25 most congested roads recorded their most sluggish hour. The 1study did not include surface streets. In San Francisco and Washington, the second-worst places to commute by car, drivers wasted about five fewer hours than in Los Angeles last year.
Angelenos can take comfort in knowing it could always be worse
Over the next few years, if gas prices remain low and the economy stays strong, drivers in L.A. and other major cities should expect congestion to increase. Aside from an economic downturn, the only way traffic will get better is if policymakers charge drivers to use the roads. Still, some transportation researchers say the advent of the autonomous car over the next 10 to 15 years could slow, or even stop, congestion’s slow creep upward.
Driver-less cars are billed as more efficient than human drivers, in part because robot drivers require less space between vehicles. Once autonomous cars make up a higher proportion of vehicles on the road, “you’re going to start to see improvements.” In the short term, Angelenos can take comfort in knowing it could always be worse. In London last year, drivers spent 101 hours stuck in traffic.