D.C.'s Traffic Gets Worse in Bad Economy

Washington climbs to No. 4 on national list

Some of the country's major metropolitan areas have seen a decrease in traffic congestion this year. That's the good news.

The bad news? That's not the case in the D.C. area, as Washington moved up one notch to No. 4 on a traffic company's top 10 list of most congested cities in the country.

The D.C. region passed Dallas in the rankings created by traffic data company Inrix. Los Angeles remains in the top spot, followed by New York and Chicago.

D.C.'s worst traffic happens on Thursdays between the hours of 5 p.m. and 6 p.m., according to Inrix.  That backs up our theory that no one in Washington actually works on Fridays except for us.

Inrix said D.C.'s travel time increased by 1.8 percent. That wasn't the case for Chicago, which saw a drop in travel time of 2.7 percent. Inrix attributed some of that drop-off to a poor economy and unemployment.

But hey, at least we're not L.A. and New York, right? Those two regions dominate the company's list of worst bottlenecks. No D.C. area roads even cracked the top 25 list.

"New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago continued to dominate the rankings in commuting nightmares," the Inrix report said. "Westbound on the Cross Bronx Expressway (I-95) in New York City remains the worst bottleneck in the nation, where traffic crawls more than 90 hours each week at an average of only 11 MPH."

Take comfort, D.C. It could be worse.

Inrix's Top 10 Most Congested Cities in First Half of 2009:

1. Los Angeles, Calif.
2. New York, N.Y.
3. Chicago, Ill.
4. Washington, D.C. (from 5th in first half of 2008)
5. Dallas, Texas (from 4th in first half of 2008)
6. Houston, Texas
7. San Francisco, Calif.
8. Boston, Mass.
9. Seattle, Wash.
10. Philadelphia, Pa.

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