Drivers are spending less time stuck in Austin traffic

I-35 at Oltorf Street on Feb. 6, 2017. (TxDOT)
I-35 at Oltorf Street on Feb. 6, 2017. (TxDOT Photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — It might not feel like it, but drivers in Austin spent less time in traffic gridlock in 2017, according to a new report compiled by INRIX, a company that specializes in transportation analytics and connected car services. INRIX data actually powers KXAN’s Traffic map. 

The report shows people spent 9 percent less time in peak congestion hours last year compared to 2016. To calculate the 2017 Global Scorecard, INRIX looks at the percentage of time drivers spend in congestion at different periods of the day/week and on different parts of a city’s road network. The company says that dataset provides a “more holistic view of a city’s congestion problem.”

Out of 297 cities in the U.S., Austin ranks as the 14th most congested. It’s also the 72nd most congested city in the world. The average driver in Austin spent 43 hours in peak congestion last year. Los Angeles topped the list of the world’s most gridlocked cities for the sixth straight year. Angelenos spent 102 hours in congestion in 2017 during peak traffic times.

The only Texas city to make it into the top 10 congested cities was Dallas, where drivers spent 54 hours in congestion. Interestingly enough, one of the worst downtown slowdowns is in El Paso, Texas, where speeds dropped from 43 mph at free-flow speeds to 5 mph when congested.

Top 10 Most Congested Urban Areas in U.S.

City 2017 Peak Hours in Congestion
1. Los Angeles, CA  102
2. New York City, NY 91
3. San Francisco, CA 79
4. Atlanta, GA 70
5. Miami, FL 64
6. Washington, DC 63
7. Boston, MA 60
8. Chicago, IL 57
9. Seattle, WA 55
10. Dallas, TX 54

While the study didn’t state the exact reason for improved congestion in Texas, it did find since last year people in Dallas spent five fewer hours sitting in their cars, Austinites are spending four hours less per year in traffic and in El Paso it’s 2 hours.

Where Texas cities finished on the 2017 List:

  • 10th – Dallas
  • 11th – Houston
  • 14th – Austin
  • 42nd – San Antonio
  • 101st – McAllen
  • 105th – El Paso

Tune into KXAN News Today starting at 4:30 a.m. to get the latest from Traffic Reporter Amanda Dugan on what traffic headaches you can avoid before you even head out the door.

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