INRIX: Americans Lost 3.4 Billion Hours Due to Congestion in 2021, 42% Below Pre-COVID

·7 min read

- The average American driver lost 36 hours due to congestion, costing $564 in wasted time

- Chicago (104 hours), New York (102 hours) and Philadelphia (90 hours) lost the most time to traffic congestion in the U.S. despite being -27% to -37% below 2019 levels

- Las Vegas (28 hours) saw the one of the largest increases in congestion, 76% over pre-COVID; Washington, D.C. remained -65% below normal, the largest decline of U.S. metros

- San Francisco (-49%), Detroit (-41%), and Washington, D.C. (-38%) have continued to see significant reductions in downtown trips, yet San Antonio (-5%), Tampa (-6%) and Phoenix (-7%) inched closer to pre-COVID levels.

KIRKLAND, Wash., Dec. 7, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- INRIX, Inc., a world leader in transportation analytics and connected car services, today published the 2021 Global Traffic Scorecard that identified and ranked congestion and mobility trends in more than 1,000 cities, across 50 countries as economic and social disruption continued due to the COVID-19 pandemic. On average, the average American driver lost 36 hours due to congestion, a 10 hour increase from 2020 yet 63 hours below pre-pandemic levels.

Drivers in Chicago (104 hours), New York (102 hours) and Philadelphia (90 hours) lost the most time to traffic congestion in 2021 despite being -27% to -37% below 2019 levels. Fourth-ranked Boston (78 hours), ranked first in 2019 Traffic Scorecard with 101 hours lost, lagged pre-COVID levels by -47%. Washington, D.C.'s congestion levels remained -65% below normal, the largest decline of U.S. metros.

"COVID-19's impact on transportation has continued through 2021, transforming when, where and how people move. Although congestion climbed 28% this year, Americans still saved 63 hours compared to normal," said Bob Pishue, transportation analyst at INRIX. "The most notable change to commuting during the pandemic – other than reduced travel times and volumes – was the lack of downtown travel."

Many employees have continued to work remotely throughout 2021, leading to high rates of telecommuting and fewer trips to downtowns. Throughout the pandemic, San Francisco (-49%), Detroit (-41%), and Washington, D.C. (-38%) have continued to see significant reductions downtown trips, yet San Antonio (-5%), Tampa (-6%) and Phoenix (-7%) inched closer to pre-COVID levels. Nationwide, trips to downtowns decreased -22% versus pre-COVID levels.

Table 1: 10 Most Congested Urban Areas in the U.S.

2021 Rank (2020)

Urban Area

Hours Lost

Compared to Pre-COVID

Cost per Driver

Cost per City

Downtown Trips

1 (1)

New York, NY

102

-27%

$1,595

$8.3B

-18%

2 (3)

Chicago, IL

104

-28%

$1,622

$5.8B

-21%

3 (2)

Philadelphia, PA

90

-37%

$1,404

$3.3B

-22%

4 (4)

Boston, MA

78

-47%

$1,223

$2.3B

-23%

5 (9)

Miami, FL

66

-19%

$1,028

$2.6B

-20%

6 (5)

Los Angeles, CA

62

-40%

$968

$5.2B

-28%

7 (6)

San Francisco, CA

64

-34%

$1,001

$1.6B

-49%

8 (8)

Houston, TX

58

-29%

$897

$2.6B

-25%

9 (7)

New Orleans, LA

63

-21%

$977

$501M

-28%

10 (22)

Atlanta, GA

53

-36%

$820

$2B

-16%

The Most Congested Corridors in the U.S.

Throughout the country, delays on the busiest corridors increased from last year, but still trail pre-COVID levels. I-5 in Los Angeles from Euclid Ave to I-605 took the top spot in 2021, with 22 minutes of delay at the 4:00PM peak hour. Like most years, New York's Brooklyn Queens Expressway took second, yet it remains to be seen how the corridor will perform long-term with a lane removed for improved safety and a new bicycle lane.

Table 2: 10 Most Congested U.S. Roads in 2021

Rank

Urban Area

Road Name

From

To

Peak Delay (min)

Hours Lost

1

Los Angeles, CA

I-5 South

Euclid Ave

I-605

22

89

2

New York, NY

I-27 West

I-495

Tillary St

20

77

3

Orlando, FL

I-4 West

Beachline Expy

FL-429

19

74

4

Bridgeport, CT

I-95 North

Unquowa Rd

NY-8

18

72

5

Dublin, CA

I-580 East

Foothill R

Airway Blvd

15

62

6

Stamford, CT

I-95 North

Riverside Ave

Hillspoint Rd

15

61

7

Orlando, FL

US-17 South

US-192

The Oaks Blvd

15

59

8

Miami, FL

I-95 North

I-195

51st St

15

57

9

New York, NY

I-95 South

I-278

Arthur Ave

13

55

10

Los Angeles, CA

I-10 East

Washington Blvd

I-110

14

55

How U.S. Cities Compare to Top Cities Worldwide
At the global level, London topped the list of the cities most impacted by traffic congestion with drivers losing 148 hours last year to congestion (-0% from 2019) followed by Paris (140 hours), Brussels (134 hours), Moscow (108 hours) and New York (102 hours). Bogota fell from first last year to eighth this year, while Brussels and Palermo jumped into the top 10.

Table 3: 10 Most Congested Cities in the World in 2021

2021 Rank
(2020)

Urban Area

Hours Lost

Compared to
Pre-COVID

Last Mile Speed
(MPH)

1 (16)

London, U.K.

148

-0%

11

2 (6)

Paris, France

140

-15%

11

3 (25)

Brussels, Belgium

134

-4%

10

4 (4)

Moscow, Russia

108

-15%

16

5 (3)

New York, NY

102

-27%

13

6 (7)

Chicago, IL

104

-28%

15

7 (18)

Rome, Italy

107

-35%

14

8 (1)

Bogota, Columbia

94

-51%

13

9 (23)

Palermo, Italy

109

-20%

9

10 (33)

Istanbul, Turkey

88

-42%

14

Access to reliable data is the first step in tackling congestion. Applying big data to create intelligent transportation systems is key to solving urban mobility problems. INRIX data and analytics on mobility, traffic and traffic signals, parking and population movement help city planners and engineers make data-based decisions to prioritize spending to maximize benefits and reduce costs now and into the future.

The key findings of the INRIX 2021 Global Traffic Scorecard provide a quantifiable benchmark for governments and cities across the world to measure progress to improve urban mobility and track the impact of spending on smart city initiatives.

Please visit www.inrix.com/scorecard for:

  • Full 2021 Global Traffic Scorecard report

  • Interactive webpage with data and information for more than 1000 cities and 50 countries

  • Complete methodology

Notes to Editors:
Data Sources
INRIX fuses anonymous data from diverse datasets – such as phones, cars, trucks and cities – that leads to robust and accurate insights. The data used in the 2021 Global Traffic Scorecard is the congested or uncongested status of every segment of road for every minute of the day, as used by millions of drivers around the world that rely on INRIX-based traffic services.

Research Methodology
The 2021 Scorecard builds upon the methodology adopted two years ago by identifying multiple commute areas within cities, capturing each city's own unique mobility profile. Furthermore, the 2021 Scorecard analyzes travel times, trip characteristics and the impact of incidents on congestion within a city. From this multifaceted approach, a holistic understanding is achievable in an increasingly complex landscape.

The INRIX 2021 Global Traffic Scorecard calculates time lost in congestion by employing traffic data across multiple commute sub areas within a city. Commute sub areas are identified based upon the concentration of trips concluding within a defined area. An economic analysis was performed to estimate the total cost to the average driver in a city, and a total cost to the city population. Worst corridors are limited to those that have the highest traffic volume and are ranked by the average hours of delay per driver in 2021. Additional metrics are available online and in the full report.

About INRIX
INRIX is the global leader in connected car services and mobility analytics. We use data and cloud-based insights to help our customers make mobility smarter, safer, and more efficient. With the ability to offer transportation services on every road in the world, we are the preferred provider of mobility intelligence for leading automakers, transport agencies and businesses. Learn more at INRIX.com.

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