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Portland ranked 12th worst US city for traffic congestion

The average driver in Portland lost 72 hours sitting in traffic during 2022, which came with a cost of $1,216, according to the report.
Credit: jpldesigns - stock.adobe.com

PORTLAND, Ore. — If you think traffic around the Portland metro is becoming worse, you may be right. A transportation analytics firm released a new report detailing how traffic congestion stacked up among major cities across the United States in 2022.

Portland ranked as the 12th most congested U.S. city and 37th worldwide, according to the annual Global Traffic Scorecard released by INRIX, Inc. The firm looked at congestion and mobility trends in more than 1,000 cities across 50 countries.

The Rose City didn't fare as well as its Northwest metropolitan neighbor, Seattle, which placed 93rd nationally.

Not only is congestion an issue for Portland drivers, the firm also found that it caused people to waste time and money. The average driver lost 72 hours sitting in traffic, which came with a cost of $1,216, according to the report. That amount of time lost is a 50% increase compared to 2021, but 19% below levels in 2019 before the COVID-19 pandemic.

The downtowns of major urban areas around the country saw a dramatic decrease in traffic in 2020 at the start of the pandemic, when non-essential businesses temporarily closed and people transitioned from in-person to remote work. While downtown Portland's economy continues to recover, the firm said the Rose City saw a 15% jump in downtown trips in 2022 compared to the previous year.

Around the U.S., traffic delays were still below levels reported before the pandemic in over 60% of urban areas. INRIX largely attributed that to higher fuel prices and inflation.

"2022 was shaping up to be a year of re-emergence and a return to a new, post-pandemic behavioral norm, but that halted with the rise in oil prices, supply chain disruptions, and inflation," said Bob Pishue, transportation analyst at INRIX. “Despite geopolitical and economic uncertainties, we continued to see a rise in global vehicle-miles traveled, a return toward traditional morning and evening peak commutes, growth in public transportation use, and continued gains in downtown travel. However, we have yet to fully rebound to pre-pandemic levels, and while we do anticipate a gradual increase over the coming years, we may see a small decline in 2023 should a global recession strongly take hold.”

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What are the worst U.S. cities for traffic congestion?

Want to see how Portland traffic compares to other cities? Below is a list of cities that ranked in the top five worst places for traffic congestion last year, according to INRIX, Inc. 

1. Chicago, Illinois
Hours lost in congestion: 155 hours
Cost of congestion per driver: $2,618

2. Boston, Massachusetts
Hours lost in congestion: 134 hours
Cost of congestion per driver: $2,270

3. New York City, New York
Hours lost in congestion: 117 hours
Cost of congestion per driver: $1,976

4. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Hours lost in congestion: 114 hours
Cost of congestion per driver: 1,925

5. Miami, Florida
Hours lost in congestion: 105 hours
Cost of congestion per driver: $1,773


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