Each year, mobility firm INRIX releases a Global Traffic Scorecard ranking over 1,360 world cities (on all continents except Antarctica and Australia) in terms of traffic. Obviously, this is a list where one doesn't want to score highly! Yet one U.S. City -- the City of Angels -- has managed to rank Number 1 for six consecutive years. So when LADOT has a link on their homepage of "What Does LADOT Do?", we came up with a number of suitable (but some not printable) responses! And what does a renter do if stuck in one of these cities? Well, sit in traffic like every other commuter!
How does INRIX make these calculations? The company has data down to individual cars, and measures the percentage of time vehicles are travelling slower than 65% of the "free flow" speed on major roadways. And that yields the number that makes the traditional media -- total number of hours spent in congestion per year -- which is 102 peak hours for the average driver in Los Angeles, more than 10% more than second and third place cities Moscow and New York (at "only" 91 hours)! And those 102 hours only include so-called "peak hours", not mid-days, evenings, overnights, or weekends while running errands! Getting my satellite office out of Los Angeles a decade and a half ago was probably one of the wisest life decisions I've ever made, and it's definitely a good thing the AutoSlash team has configured our lives to avoid traffic in our home ranges -- most of us live in cities among the worst worldwide (although the dropoff from Los Angeles to "Rest of World" is steep -- spending just 24 hours per year in rush-hour traffic annually puts one in 100th place, Las Vegas, Nevada).
Aside from total average time in congestion, what else does INRIX measure? For those who have access to the full report, there are congestion factors based on seven different timeframes (including late nights and weekends). There's also a congestion index that's a weighted average of the seven timeframes, factoring in the number of vehicles and actual transit time. In that index, Los Angeles performs slightly better (number 2 globally, right behind Moscow). Yet there's (limited) hope for Los Angeles -- the passage of Measure M in 2016 means that there's a commitment to reduce commute times by 15% over the next 40 years. No, that's not a typo -- Los Angeles is really good about proposing plans with end dates that fall when current workers are retired like the (eventual) airport consolidated rental car facility!
The City of Angels is not any commuter's friend.
We were very interested in the 10 worst bottlenecks in the United States, where Los Angeles only manages to have one and D.C. and Atlanta have zero. New York manages to have four of the top 10, including the worst (at the Alexander Hamilton Bridge). And as renters ourselves, these details have a strong bearing on whether one chooses to rent, and even where one stays during a trip! We frequently admit that rental cars may not be the best choice, especially in cities where the traffic, toll, and parking fees make a rental car a detriment rather than an advantage! And if we're going to spring for a flashy rental car like a Tesla Model S, it's not going to be for creeping along at 16 mph in Los Angeles!