It may be an accident, a lane closed, construction or a rush of people trying to come home but there are many reasons why traffic jams occur.
The top-ranked chokepoint in the nation is in Chicago, a stretch of highway that extends 12 miles, costs motorists 16.9 million hours’ worth of time and wastes more than 6.3 million gallons of fuel while cars idle or crawl in traffic. The Los Angeles region has far more gridlocked areas than any other metropolitan area, claiming the next six of the ten worst spots.
Those are among the findings of a new study that identifies and ranks the country’s 50 worst traffic bottlenecks.
In addition to 3 in Chicago and a total of 12 in Los Angeles, the list includes trouble spots in these other metropolitan regions: 9 in and around New York City, 3 near Washington, 3 in Houston, 3 in Boston, 3 in Dallas, 3 in Miami, 2 in Atlanta, 2 in Philadelphia, and 2 in San Francisco/Oakland. Austin ranked number 10 on the list.
The report, “Unclogging America’s Arteries 2015; Prescriptions for Healthier Highways,” released on Monday by the American Highway Users Alliance, a nonprofit advocacy group, also provided a detailed analysis on the top 30 bottlenecks, including the size and costs of the delays, and environmental and safety impacts.
Bottlenecks were ranked based on backups in both directions over the entire day, not just during rush hours, the group said.
“The good news is that this problem is solvable, and Congress can be part of the solution, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in a statement following his address at a press conference at The National Press Club in Washington to announce the release of the report. “As a long-term surface transportation bill moves through conference, I urge our elected leaders to provide the funding growth and policies that are necessary to improve commutes, to raise the bar for safety, and to keep the country moving in the 21st century.”
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