Yes, Texas Traffic Really is That Bad

Which rush hour thoroughfares in Dallas, Houston, and Austin cracked the upper reaches of the Daily Beast's third annual "Highways From Hell" survey?
Thu May 31, 2012 7:03 pm
Flickr | Moflytier

The Daily Beast has come out with its third annual " Highways from Hell " ranking, which lists the worst commuting stretches in America. It is topped by roads in Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco, and Chicago, but then we get to Texas. 

Coming in at number five was a 3.1 mile stretch of Loop 820/I-820 westbound in the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area, with the following statistics: 

Extra time during rush hour: 6 minutes
Worst travel hour: Friday, 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Extra time during worst travel hour: 9 minutes
And, at number six, 4.5 miles of US-59 northbound in Houston: 
Extra time during rush hour: 7 minutes
Worst travel hour: Friday 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Extra time during worst travel hour: 16 minutes

And finally, at number eleven, 6.7 miles of I-35 southbound in Austin:

Extra time during rush hour: 10 minutes.
Worst travel hour: Thursday, 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Extra time during worst travel hour: 25 minutes.

If those numbers seem a little backwards, i.e. Austin has the longest corridor and highest extra travel time, that's because they kind of are. In  the survey  by the traffic tracking company INRIX that the Daily Beast  based its numbers on, I-35 southbound in Austin is the twenty-fourth most-congested corridor in America, ahead of I-820/20 in Dallas (29th) and U.S. 59 in Houston (35th).

The Beast's methodology was broader and factored in each city's total congestion without allowing multiple appearances on the list--otherwise, highways in Los Angeles and New York would have made up the entire top eight.

INRIX, which released its numbers last week,  also found that Austin was the eighth most congested city in America. It was the state capital's first appearance in the company's top ten, and the only Texas city on there (Dallas was 20th, and Houston, 24th). 

Overall, congestion in the U.S. was actually down thirty percent, due to high gas prices and high unemployment. So in that sense, Texas traffic is good news. The report noted that Houston's employment growth in 2011 was almost triple the national average (3.2 percent to 1.2 percent), while Austin's average gas prices were ten cents less per gallon than the national mark, making for busier highways and increased commuters in both places. 

More Texas Monthly

Loading, please wait...

Most Read

  • Viewed
  • Past:
  • 1 week