Phoenix Traffic Better Than Any Other Metropolis in the Country

Categories: News
phx-long-exposure-traffic.jpg
Michael Ruiz via Flickr
Loop 202/SR 51/I-10 interchange in Phoenix.


Next time you're stuck in traffic in Phoenix, consider this: the traffic in literally every other big city in the country is worse.

TomTom, the company that makes the GPS products, used its data to compare travel times while there's no traffic, and when there's the heaviest traffic, in cities across the world.

Using data from more than 1.7 million miles traveled around Phoenix, TomTom's annual traffic report says travel times in Phoenix are about 12 percent higher during the times with the heaviest traffic (i.e., rush hour) than when there's no traffic.

Compare that with Los Angeles, which is the worst in the country, with 35 percent longer times.

The report figures that in Phoenix, for every hour that you drive during peak congestion, you're delayed by 16 minutes. So, say you have a half-hour commute to and from work five days a week, you waste about 48 hours of your life every year delayed by congestion. (Reflect on that one.)

If you're looking for an excuse to leave work early today, here it is -- Wednesday evenings have the worst congestion in Phoenix (although Tuesdays and Thursdays aren't far behind.)

road-congestion-days.jpg

TomTom did the same analysis for the 53 biggest metropolitan areas in the country, and although Phoenix did have the lowest level of congestion among the biggest cities, it's a little higher than in a few smaller places: Raleigh, Richmond, Kansas City, Cleveland, and Indianapolis.

Click here to check out the report.

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Follow Matthew Hendley on Twitter at @MatthewHendley.


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58 comments
Shay Marie
Shay Marie

Diasagree! Driving here has turned me into a Road-Rager!! Rudest drivers ever--always in a hurry, swapping several lanes at a time and never use signals!

Daniel Wessel
Daniel Wessel

Jeusg moved up to Denver and the teaffic here is terrible....people seriously can't drive here...makes ne want to deal with phx traffic again

drdarrow
drdarrow

My 5 plus years driving around here as a courier more or less confirm these conclusions. And most of the congestion most of the time is over a few specific stretches. Have a valley-wide rain event, even a scant one, and it throws a monkey-wrench into the works. Of course we have plenty of idiot drivers, and they constantly crash and screw up the day for the rest of us no matter where you go.

Traffic fell off a cliff in 2008 during the crash, but the work that was begun immediately after the stimulus was announced improved flow significantly, and made things better since traffic has returned to normal.

Teresa Finnell
Teresa Finnell

I agree. We moved from PHX to Denver & its way better back there! Btw, I've gotta say...my kids name & urs is the same! Don't see too many ;)

Teresa Finnell
Teresa Finnell

i don't know about it being the best in the country but its better than Denver that's for sure!

Eliott Kroll
Eliott Kroll

Coming from Chicago, I completely agree with this. I've driven all over the country and Phoenix has one of the best road systems I have ever seen. Every pace has their rush hour traffic, but it's manageable here, especially with the grid system we have now.

Sindi
Sindi

You usually do not sit in traffic without moving unless there is an accident. When I moved here from Pittsburgh, PA in 1985 I was told the traffic here was terrible so being from a city where it was I left for my first day of work 1 hour early.  I got to work 40 minutes early.  LOL  In Pgh the traffic just sits on the parkway east and just doesn't move.  You can sit there for 15-20 minutes and not move a foot.  At least here on the freeways you are moving and not sitting still.

Anthony Lustmord
Anthony Lustmord

phoenix isnt bad with regular traffic, but good god these people need to learn to merge correctly and not bring traffic to a halt because the person in the next lane has a balloon in the car

Frank Even
Frank Even

My annoyance is traffic shouldn't exist in Phoenix at all. It only does due to inconsiderateness and ignorance. Our highways are beautiful, plenty of lanes, no tolls. If people bothered to use common sense and use just the basic traffic considerations we'd be even lower on that list. I find it hard to believe San Diego is higher....driving the highways in San Diego was a beautiful experience.

Warren Klofkorn
Warren Klofkorn

I can tell you Chicago is worse for sure. I wasn't very impressed with LA, either.

Don Cook
Don Cook

Not the best, but clearly better than most.

Kenn Tomasch
Kenn Tomasch

Doesn't mean it doesn't suck. It does. If traffic were malaria and it got worse to this extent, you would fire the doctors, wouldn't you?

Arturo G Codina
Arturo G Codina

Some people have clearly never driven in other major cities. I grew up in Miami and that place is a damn nightmare to drive in. Phoenix is paradise when it comes to traffic and the way people drive.

Diane Molloy
Diane Molloy

Based on other major metro areas I've driven in, I'd say yes, absolutely.

Craig Cheply
Craig Cheply

What is the ratio/amount of cars traveling per city during rush hours?

Steve Kalan
Steve Kalan

Good until the New Yorkers come to town

Mike McLauchlin
Mike McLauchlin

I have'nt been to every corner of the States, nor do I want to, but,, Phoenix traffic flows pretty smoothly for such a Big City.

Angie Vazquez
Angie Vazquez

Traffic here isn't as crazy as I've seen in LA or Chicago. What I don't understand is why there are at least two fatal traffic accidents per week before I even pull out of my garage in the morning.

Tyler Pruitt
Tyler Pruitt

And when adjusted for the 15+ mph that everyone speeds, PHX moves to the Top 10...

Steve McGrath
Steve McGrath

i have to agree traffic isnt too bad especially in the suburbs. Compared this to tucson that doesnt have a highway through the center youre literally going 20mph the whole way

Joseph Manna
Joseph Manna

AND the photo enforcement cameras are down. Imagine that.

Darin Mahkee
Darin Mahkee

Lighter traffic,but horrible drivers. Probably because everyone acts like they need 5 car lengths in front of them when they park at a light, the coast out when that light turns green, slowly enough that only 4 cars can get through the light.

Ana A. Ochoa
Ana A. Ochoa

highly disagree. and if so...god help us all.

infobahn
infobahn

Phoenix, you don't know how good you have it. 

Caitlin Lindsey
Caitlin Lindsey

It's lighter traffic, but the drivers are less attentive, can't drive in anything but a straight line without slowing down, are afraid of clouds and rain and merging is a foreign concept.

Lucia Perry
Lucia Perry

Phoenix driving IQ not so good. I was chased down the freeway at rush hour by a guy with a gun. Scary!

Gigi Berry
Gigi Berry

Makes sense given how spread out we are.

Lucia Perry
Lucia Perry

More light rail! How about a direct train from Phoenix to Los Angeles area?

Michael McNamara
Michael McNamara

Phoenix is pretty good. Until the snowbird arrive and the collective driving IQ is lowered by about 30 points.

Lucia Perry
Lucia Perry

Los angeles is hellish. They have traffic reports all night long!

Chris Pace
Chris Pace

Makes sense - main problem with Phoenix traffic is the distance most of us need to travel to get from A to B. For me getting from Gilbert to downtown PHX, even with bad traffic it only varies about 15-20 minutes on average compared to off-peak days. Now Houston or Atlanta...its terrible all the time.

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