Los Angeles Reclaims No. 1 Worst Traffic Rating

The California city has the worst traffic congestion in the nation, according to INRIX which makes systems that handle traffic data. L.A. has been trying to address its gridlock by syncing traffic lights and expanding its subway and light rail

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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne. Los Angeles has reclaimed its place at the top, as the city with the worst traffic in the country. That's according to a report from a company called INRIX, which makes systems that handle traffic data. And it doesn't surprise me, Steve, because a couple of days ago, it took me two hours to get six miles.

(LAUGHTER)

MONTAGNE: That would be three miles an hour, on average. NPR's...

INSKEEP: I noticed people in Los Angeles are very comfortable with that. They're just very...

Not at all. We're so uncomfortable. And NPR's Kirk Siegler reports no one will be surprised by the finding.

KIRK SIEGLER, BYLINE: If you're not careful, L.A. traffic will make your head spin.

(SOUNDBITE OF RADIO REPORTS)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: All right, let's go to some breaking news. A Sig alert...

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #2: ...the eastbound 60 at the 71...

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: The 110 north...

SIEGLER: The 10, the 110, the 210, the 5, the 605, the 710, the 90 - this actually makes sense to people here.

(SOUNDBITE OF RADIO REPORT)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #3: ...coming out of the Cahuenga Pass with the backup on the 170 south, and that's...

SIEGLER: It has to make sense, because if you ever want to get to work on time here, you have to be savvy. What am I saying? You have to be savvy to get anywhere on time, pretty much any time here.

MIKE BROWN: Yeah. I mean, it seems like Saturday's an extra rush hour.

SIEGLER: For Mike Brown, it's avoid the freeways at all cost.

BROWN: Google Maps. Try to find the green spots and hop off and catch the streets where it's red.

(LAUGHTER)

SIEGLER: At a gas station near the notorious 405 Freeway in West L.A., Brown chuckles again, knowingly, when I tell him about the report showing L.A. has edged out Honolulu for the worst traffic in the U.S. The average commuter wasted about 60 hours stuck in traffic last year. Jim Brooks spends about two hours each day in his car, commuting 18 miles to and from his job.

JIM BROOKS: The cell phone is my coping strategy. Talk on it, answer calls, return calls, hands-free.

SIEGLER: L.A. has been trying to address its gridlock by syncing traffic lights and expanding its subway and light rail. Commuter Roland Hutcherson says it wouldn't be such a tough sell to get Angelinos out of their cars if the trains actually went more places. He's fed up.

ROLAND HUTCHERSON: The street traffic is one thing, but the freeway traffic is another. Up there on the freeways it's crazy. It causes so much stress.

SIEGLER: Silver lining to all that stress? The INRIX study says L.A. likely shot back to number one because the city's economy is improving. Kirk Siegler, NPR News.

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