Miami has the seventh-worst traffic of any major metro area in the United States, according to a new analysis from the makers of TomTom GPS. That's not exactly big news. Everyone knows we're plagued by bad traffic, and we were ranked in the same seventh-place position in last year's TomTom Traffic Index rankings. But take a closer look at the data and you'll find that Miami's traffic congestion has actually gotten worse.
Those TomTom GPS devices do more than provide directions in slightly comical robotic voices. They also log congestion levels and travel time into TomTom's historical traffic database. Those numbers, along with data provided by the company's partners, are used in the Traffic Index Ratings.
Cities are ranked by congestion level, which is the extra percentage of time you can expect to your trip to take during average traffic versus free-flow traffic conditions.
Miami's congestion level last year was 27 percent, meaning the average trip takes about 27 percent longer than it would if there were no traffic. And although Miami remains in seventh place in America, it's up from 24 percent in the 2014 rankings — a 3 percent increase. (This year's study used data from 2014, while last year's obviously used 2013 numbers.)
Of course, traffic congestion gets much worse during rush hour.
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The study shows the absolute worst time to be on the road is Thursday during evening rush hour. The traffic congestion level then is 60 percent — meaning your 30-minute trip home actually takes 48 minutes. That's up significantly from last year, when the worst time to be on the road was Friday-evening rush hour, when traffic congestion peaked around 55 percent.
The analysis also found that congestion on non-highway roads was worse than on highways: 36 percent compared to 14 percent.
Also, the analysis says the most congested traffic day of the year in 2014 was Monday, November 21. That's not much of a surprise. That was the day traffic-pattern changes were made around the Dolphin-Palmetto interchange to facilitate its reconstruction project. (Those traffic patterns just shifted again earlier this month, by the way.) The good news is that that project is supposed to reduce congestion in the city, so let's hope we're all suffering for progress.
As for the worst traffic in America, well, that title still belongs to perennial champion Los Angeles. At least you don't live there. It's also helpful to remember that Miami's traffic isn't that bad when you compare it with every major metro area across the globe. Of the 146 metro areas surveyed globally, Miami was only the 66th worst. If you really hate traffic, it's best to avoid global first-place traffic champ Istanbul, second-place Mexico City, and third-place Rio de Janeiro.