Cities in the western part of North America see the most congestion from car traffic, according to the latest TomTom Congestion Index. The latest study, released earlier this month, measured traffic congestion from July through September 2012 in 57 metropolitan areas with populations of more than 950,000, using actual GPS data.
The top five metropolitan areas were all located in western North America, with Los Angeles ranking as the most congested. TomTom said that, on average, travel times in the city were 34 percent longer than when traffic was flowing freely and 76 percent longer during the evening rush hour, resulting in delays of 37 minutes on average. Those with longer commutes in congested cities are likely to see higher car insurance rates, since traffic congestion increases the likelihood of a car accident.
By comparison, the least congested city in the study, Oklahoma City, had an average congestion rate of 10 percent longer than when traffic was flowing freely and 28 percent longer during evening rush hour, resulting in delays of 15 minutes on average.
Rounding out the top 10 congested cities were, in order: Vancouver, British Columbia; San Francisco; Honolulu; Seattle; Toronto; New Orleans; San Jose, Calif.; Montreal; and Chicago.
Tara Baukus Mello writes the cars blog as well as the weekly Driving for Dollars column, providing both practical financial advice for consumers as well as insight into the latest developments in the automotive world. Follow her on Facebook here or on Twitter @SheDrives.