No surprise: Seattle ranks among cities with worst traffic congestion

by: KIRO 7 STAFF Updated:

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SEATTLE - A new report finds U.S. roads more clogged than ever, and to no one's surprise, Seattle is no exception.    

Seattle ranks among the cities with the most problems, with more traffic congestion than Chicago, Houston and San Bernadino. 

The report from Kirkland-based traffic data firm INRIX and Texas A&M places the Emerald City at No. 7 on the list.

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Americans are stuck in traffic about 5 percent more than they were in 2007, in part because of the fast-growing economy and job growth.

Growing urban populations and falling gas prices are also factors. 

The growth is outpacing cities' ability for roads and bridges to handle more drivers.

The following are urban areas ranked by the average annual extra hours commuters spend in their cars due to delay, together with the cost in lost time and fuel.

  1. Washington, D.C.-Virginia-Maryland, 82 hours, $1,834
  2. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, 80 hours, $1,711
  3. San Francisco-Oakland, 78 hours, $1,675
  4. New York-Newark, New Jersey-Connecticut, 74 hours, $1,739
  5. San Jose, California, 67 hours, $1,422
  6. Boston-New Hampshire-Rhode Island, 64 hours, $1,388
  7. Seattle, 63 hours, $1,491
  8. Chicago-Indiana, 61 hours, $1,445
  9. Houston, 61 hours, $1,490
  10. Riverside-San Bernardino, California, 59 hours, $1,316

Congress has not raised the federal gas tax, which experts say would help.

The study recommends encouraging more flexible work schedules and creating more high-density neighborhoods within walking distance of or close to public transit.

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