Stop complaining, Washington. Traffic is only the 8th worst in America.


Cars at a standstill in both directions on Interstate 405 in Los Angeles. (Reed Saxon/AP)

D.C. drivers just thought they had it bad — ranked the worst when talking traffic congestion, showed a 2012 report by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute.

But a different report released this week says that Los Angeles drivers are now spending more time staring at back bumpers than any others in the nation — inching along an average of 90 hours total in 2013 while stuck in traffic — and taking the title as the worst-congested city in America.

L.A. congestion jumped 2 percent in 2013, bringing it to 36 percent, the highest level in five years, according to an annual traffic index report released Wednesday by Tom Tom, the Dutch company that sells GPS navigation systems and other mapping products.

The worst delay of 2013 for California motorists came on Nov. 14 — when a big-rig truck crashed and caught fire, closing down traffic in both directions on the heavily traveled State Route 60 freeway in the San Gabriel Valley, USA Today reported.

The Tom Tom report looked at congestion on local roads, arterials and highways, measuring travel times during the whole day and peak periods, and comparing those with free flow times. Texas A&M’s study from the previous year uses what it calls the Planning Time Index, which compares the time it would take to travel in light traffic with the time it would take a driver to be punctual for higher priority events.

Congestion levels for the rest of the top 10:

2. San Francisco

3. Honolulu

4. Seattle

5. San Jose

6. New York

7. Miami

8. Washington

9. Portland, Oregon

10. New Orleans

Washington had a congestion level of 24 percent. The city’s drivers spent 73 hours trapped in traffic last year, it showed.

For most of these cities, Thursday evening commutes were the worst.

In all of North America and South America, Rio de Janeiro was the top traffic spot at 55 percent — followed by Mexico City; Sao Paulo, Brazil; and Los Angeles.

Lindsey Bever is a national news reporter for The Washington Post. She writes for the Morning Mix news blog. Tweet her: @lindseybever
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