If You Live in DC, Congratulations On Being the Worst…


The average Washington, D.C., area driver loses 70 hours a year sitting and inching along in traffic. This ties with Chicago for the country’s worst road congestion. Los Angeles is ranked next with 63 hours lost on what I like to call the “interstate parking lot”.

If you want to read more on the Texas Transportation Institute’s annual study and want to see how your city ranks, visit Texas A & M’s university website.

Sounds like telecommuting, ride share, and public transporation may need to be reconsidered for residents!

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Peter Sperry

Tricia – What we need is to widen I-270 to 4 lanes each direction all the way to Frederick Md., Add a third lane to the HOV section of I-395/95 and extend it all the way to Fredericksburg Va., build a south bridge crossing over the Potomac to connect I-95 in Va with the Indian Head Highway in Md., finish the inter-county connector between I-270 and I-95 in Md., build pedestrian tunnels underneath 14th Street and prohibit pedestrain traffic across 14th street on the surface, do the same for 9th street, Complete I-395 through DC along the current New York Avenue corridor, build a direct connection between I-295 and I-395 at Pennsylvania avenue and widen/remove someregional choke points on state roads.

Lindley Ashline

I agree with both Peter and Tricia: We need road improvements desperately (Rt. 28 is my personal pit of despair), but we also need improved telework options!

Shannon Donelson

I couldn’t agree more! I moved up here from Altanta, a city known for terrible terrible traffic…but DC’s is aweful! I live in Georgetown and it takes over 30 minutes to get from my house to work…at grand total of 3 miles. What’s wrong with this picture???

Peter Sperry

@ Lindley — I agree with you regarding the need for maore telework opportuinites. It would also be a good idea to move as many federal agencies as possible out of DC to locations just beyond the beltway. Most of the workers live out here anyway and reversing the commute for the rest would help bring down congestion.

@Shannon — I would suggest walking if it is only 3 miles but central DC, except for the Mall area, somehow manages to be both pedestrain and driver unfriendly. We need to study what they have done in London with pedestrain tunnels. Some are simply subway entrances but others were obviously dug just to allow pedestrains to move under the street and cars to turn at intersections without wasting half the light waiting for the crosswalk to clear. Even where they do not have tunnels, London manages to control pedestrain traffic in ways that make walking a pleasure while allowing auto traffic to flow.

AJ Malik

Perhaps that is why DC is the 5th rudest city. All ‘rudest cities‘ have really bad traffic. Coincidence? Peter, your Rx for alleviating DC’s nightmare traffic status quo is right on the mark, despite being a decades overdue. The lack of ‘smart growth’ planning/execution/enforcement by all the local, state, and Federal Gov players, as DC was quickly transforming into a Boom town, has led to the status quo. Period.

Peter Sperry

@AJ – almost ever single project I identified was part of one or more transportation plans prior to 1980. some of them were included in regional plans as early as 1960. Most were held up by NIMBY opposition, a few were put on hold due to inter-jurisdictional rivalries (DC in particular has been a roadblock), and others were pushed back so previously approved funding could be diverted to public transportation. The gridlock began to break when then Governor Allen decided to move ahead with the Springfield interchange project over the objection of several NIMBY groups without waiting for regional cooperation and without the usual diversion of highway funds to public transportation that had been previously required to get approval of road construction. Virginia also began targeted choke point improvements during the same period. Since that period, we have seen several highway projects start to move forward without the usual payoff to the public transportation special interests. (Inter-county connector, I-50 in Md, Wilson bridge project, beltway widening in Va etc). Currently the only major diversion of transportation funds to wasteful projects I am aware of is the Metro to Dulles construction that is sucking money out of the toll road. Hopefully the trend will continue and tranportation planners will respond to how people in this region really live rather than suck them dry to support Metro.

Carol Davison

I grew up in NJ (exit 8) where the built the turnpike during the pre baby boom 50s. No housing projects, cities and NIMBYers to steer around. Just drive south and you wind up in Florida. In comparison I just returned from Atlanta which didn’t get the opportunity to do so; and had to build their roads around the city. (Either that or their engineers are possessed.) Their roads snake up and down and around the city. You have to pay attention while driving on these high spped roads because 75 and 85 coil around each other like mating snakes. 75 moves at 60 mph in the left two lanes while 85 is motionless in the right two. This is unnerving to a gal weaned on a straight, flat, NJ turnpike. I’ve learned to use and exploited public transportation everywhere I ever lived, including Tokyo and Korea, because it is faster, cheaper and easier on the environment and less stressful to me.