NYC leads the world in congestion again: report

Once again, New York City tops the list!

This time, as the most congested area in the world according to an INRIX global traffic report. 

The Big Apple beat London, Paris and Mexico City for the second year in a row. 

The report collected costs and commuting trends from 947 urban areas in 37 countries to rank each city. 

UNION CITY, NJ - NOVEMBER 22: Traffic moves into the Lincoln Tunnel prior to the Thanksgiving holiday weekend on November 22, 2017 in Union City, New Jersey. (Photo by Kena Betancur/VIEWpress/Corbis via Getty Images)

The 2023 Global Traffic Scorecard also used post-pandemic patterns to analyze and compare how travel differs in each city. 

Whereas drivers spent an average of 42 hours in traffic per year, NYC drivers spent 101 hours. 

This was actually an improvement from the 2022 report, where drivers lost 105 hours.

To top it all off, the report also found that it cost over $1,700 (per year) on average to commute around the city. 

Inrix based the total price on distance, delays and economic losses based on hourly values of time — $17.45 per hour in the U.S. (2016 Federal Highway Administration guidance). 

The scorecard also found that congestion in NYC is now higher than it was before the pandemic. 

Prior to the pandemic, drivers lost an average of 91 hours to traffic jams.

Throughout the pandemic, New York City experienced drops in trips as workers shifted to hybrid and work-from-home schedules. 

New York’s busiest area according to the report was along the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway from the Long Island Expresswa to Tillary Streeet.


Congestion pricing

Even after New York Gov. Kathy Hochul paused congestion pricing, the treat still looms over commuters. 

To enter Manhattan, commuters from other states and boroughs already pay around $15 in bridge and tunnel tolls — and the congestion fee will come on top of that. 

Daily parking costs already run $25 to $50 in the congestion zone.

This comes as a frustration for some on top of dealing with the ongoing NYC traffic. 

NJ Transit fare hike

NJ Transit plans to raise train and bus ticket fares by 15% on July 1, according to a proposal that was approved in April. 

This as riders experienced major delays and cancelations nearly every day last week, less than a month before the 15% proposed rate hike is expected to go into effect. 

NJ Transit canceled service in and out of NY Penn Station every single weekday, excluding one day last week. 

Some days, rail services saw delays of up to 90 minutes.  

MTA improvements

The MTA planned to generate $1 billion annually from the new congestion pricing plan. 

The 2nd Avenue subway line extension is on hold for now despite being jointly funded by a federal grant, and some accessibility improvements have also been placed on hold.

The MTA board is expected to approve a resolution that recognizes the congestion pricing pause.

Cities with the worst traffic

Here are the cities with the highest traffic delay times by city in the U.S. according to the 2023 Global Traffic Scorecard.

  1. New York, NY
  2. Chicago, IL
  3. Los Angeles, CA
  4. Boston, MA
  5. Miami, FL
  6. Philadelphia, PA
  7. Washington, D.C.
  8. Houston, TX