Gridlock Is Not Just for D.C. Politics

Two lanes of cars are stuck in heavy traffic in Washington DC.

Two lanes of cars are stuck in heavy traffic in Washington DC.

[quote_right][feature_box title=”TDM TAKEAWAY” title_color=”fff” header_color=”369″]Cities that work hard to publicize their transit options can do a lot to relief stress and congestion for all commuters.[/feature_box][/quote_right]

File this one under “lists you don’t want to appear on.”

Consumer finance website NerdWallet has released a list of the top 10 Worst Cities for Car Drivers. Washington D.C., number two on the list, proves once again that the term “gridlock” doesn’t just apply to the city’s politics.

NerdWallet gave Washington poor scores because, compared with other major cities, “Washington, D.C. drivers waste the most time in delays: 67 hours each year.” NerdWallet also cited hefty car-insurance premiums and tourists who are “often lost on the city’s confusing traffic circles and one-way streets.”

Boston, Massachusetts took the number-one slot, due to its low number of parking garages and lots (1.36 per 1,000 commuter vehicles), high automobile accident rate, and weather conditions that can make traffic “quickly go from bad to worse.”

Thankfully, both Washington and Boston have good public transportation systems and mobility options such as bikeshare and Bridj (which started in Boston and recently expanded to Washington).

Here’s the full list:


One thing worth noting: Washington D.C. “outperformed” New York City in another ranking. You may remember we reported that the District was named “most walkable city” by Smart Growth America, surprisingly topping New York.

NerdWallet’s analysis took into account the following data points in compiling its “10 Worst Cities for Car Drivers” list:

  • Road congestion: average annual hours of traffic delay and peak period commuters per population
  • Safety considerations: days of precipitation and likelihood of getting into an accident
  • Financial burdens: car insurance premiums and gas prices, and
  • Parking availability: Garages and lots per 1,000 commuter vehicles.

Photo by cherryblossomwatch and Graphic from NerdWallet.

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