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Culture / Cars

What Traffic Troubles?

Texas’ Major Cities Do Shockingly Well in Road Congestion Rankings

BY // 03.23.17

Every city-dwelling Texan has dealt with the frustration of sitting in long hours of traffic. Whether you call Houston, Dallas, Austin or San Antonio home (even spots like Midland are no picnic), you’ve likely known road rage.

Although everyone enjoys complaining about the traffic, it turns out that even big city Texans still have it pretty good. A new study of traffic around the world puts no Texas cities in the Top 5 Worst Traffic Cities in America — let alone the world. INRIX’s new Global Traffic Scorecard — an exhaustive study of the traffic in 1,064 cities around the world — makes Texas look like a car paradise. By comparison.

Dallas has the worst traffic in Texas, ranking 7th in America (and 16th in the world) for congestion. Houston comes in 11th in the United States (and a mere 28th in the world). Austin is 13th in America (and 42nd globally). And San Antonio’s a virtual traffic wonderland with only the 32nd worst congestion in the U.S. (204th in the world).

Heck, Baton Rouge and Tacoma both have much worse traffic than the land of the River Walk.

This does not mean traffic is wonderful in Texas. It just means it’s better than the horrific conditions found elsewhere.

Los Angeles measures in as  the most congested city in America by far with L.A. drivers spending 104 hours in traffic on average in 2016. New York, San Francisco, Atlanta and Miami round out the top five.

This isn’t just about frustration. Sitting in gridlock costs everyone money — in wasted time, wasted fuel. The traffic index added to up to a shocking $9.7 billion economic loss for Los Angeles, which comes out to $2,408 per driver. Houston’s relatively “minor” traffic woes still result in a $2.5 billion economic loss yearly — $1,374 per driver on average.

The Super Bowl did give everyone in Houston a glimpse of what living with near Los Angeles-like traffic would be like. With more than 140,000 out of town visitors here, getting across town in less than 30 minutes became almost impossible. Combine that with the one million people (many of them local) who attended some of the Super Bowl festivities — and you had congestion hell.

But that was for one week. Imagine living in that (or sitting in your car in it) day after day after day. Texans don’t have to — the one thing that’s not bigger in Texas turns out to be traffic. For at least now, we have it pretty good. Texas traffic rules?

Some things truly are hard to believe.

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