The 5 Worst Traffic Cities in the U.S. and Why

Olivia Elsher

Jul 29, 2021


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If you’re looking to move to a new city in the United States, you will run into some traffic. However, some cities are more congested than others. Here are the five worst traffic cities in the U.S. and the reasons behind them.

5. Los Angeles

Los Angeles is infamous for its traffic; it doesn’t look like the congestion is stopping anytime soon.

The city has seen a consistent rise in traffic as more creatives flock to it, with nearly four million people living there.

Aside from the number of people, traffic can also be worsened in Los Angeles thanks to the needs of Hollywood. Streets are shut down to film television shows and movies, diverting traffic to congested areas. 

4. Chicago

Chicago is known as its Windy City, but it’s also known for having traffic. In early 2022, the city saw a traffic increase of over 12% in one month. 

As one of the most significant metropolitan areas in the country, traffic from people coming to and from working in the city is a common issue. 

Like any heavily traveled area, Chicago is also bound to random traffic jams, one caused by cattle. 

3. New York City

There’s a reason people opt for cabs to get around the city. Aside from a lack of parking, the traffic in New York City is well-known. Traffic got so congested that the city government implemented laws prohibiting drivers from honking their horns unless in an emergency.

Congestion has been steadily increasing, especially as employees return to the city for post-pandemic work. 

The leading cause of New York City traffic is building up. With skyscrapers, more businesses have put offices in the cities without considering road and parking lot space. This leads to a surge of employees on the road and residents have proposed possible solutions to curb traffic congestion. 

2. Houston

Houston saw a rise in population over the past few years, as it’s one of Texas’ thriving cities. However, more people means more traffic. 

The city has recently seen a steep increase in traffic due to so many people taking advantage of the housing market there. 

With more workers “super commuting” in the city, Houston sure is bustling. 

1. Washington, D.C.

As the nation’s capital, there’s no wonder that Washington, D.C., is topping the list for cities with the worst traffic. 

Around 800,000 people work in the city’s 68 square miles and traffic naturally gets heavy. With only 30% of those workers living in the city, rush hour traffic can be a standstill affair. 

Another cause of traffic in Washington D.C. is the various marches and political events that tend to happen in the city. 

Coping With Traffic

There are many pros to moving to one of these cities, including that there’s always something to do. However, traffic congestion is an unavoidable consequence of living urban. 

If you struggle to get through your commute, there are ways to make it easier. Switching to comfortable shoes, having a great playlist and staying mindful can help you have a more enjoyable commute. 

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