Much like that NFL team that shall not be mentioned by name, Washington is slipping. (Yes, we know the team won Sunday. Don’t rush out to buy your Super Bowl tickets.)
The Washington region is slipping down the list of lousy places to drive, or, to put it another way, a place where traffic is the worst. There are all sorts of rankings of municipal congestion, and they use a variety of ways to measure which cities are the worst.
TomTom, manufacturers of GPS navigation devices (some of which give feedback that’s used to measure congestion), came out with it’s new rankings Wednesday. They take an unusual approach, ranking all the big cities in North and South America in one long list. Among all those cities, Washington narrowly makes it into the top 10. But even if you eliminate the non-U.S. cities from the ranking, the best D.C. can do is number six, behind L.A., San Francisco, Honolulu, Seattle and San Jose. A bitter letdown for a city that has gotten used to being the worst in the nation, or second or third in most rankings.
The worst cities in all of the Americas? Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo and Vancouver. Toronto beats out D.C. to take the number 9 spot. It’s all relative, right? So, just take this on faith because your eyes will glaze over if we try to explain the TomTom formula for calculating all this. D.C. has congestion rated at 27 percent. Los Angeles is 35 percent. Rio has a whopping 50 percent congestion.
What could be worse that Rio? How about Moscow at 65 percent or Istanbul at 57 percent? Rome and Paris may be the two most beautiful cities in Europe, but they both rate 36 percent on the congestion scale, 11 percent worst than dear old Washington.