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D.C. Area Has Worst Traffic In U.S.

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D.C. area drivers are saddled with the longest commutes of any metropolitan area in the country, according to a new ranking.
Armando Trull
  D.C. area drivers are saddled with the longest commutes of any metropolitan area in the country, according to a new ranking.

The Washington, D.C. metro area has the worst commute in the country. Drivers in the metro D.C. area spend an average of three days per year in bumper to bumper traffic, according to 2011 rankings from Texas A&M University released this morning. 

That 74-hour yearly traffic figure is enough to earn the area the title of the most traffic-congested region in the country, according to the 2011 Urban Mobility Report from the university's Texas Transportation Institute. That time sitting in traffic amounts to 37 extra gallons of fuel per year, and nearly $1,500 in lost wages, on average.

D.C. drivers will hardly take comfort in having bested other high ranking cities, Chicago and and Los Angeles -- the metro areas that ranked second and third, respectively, in the traffic congestion study.

There is good news, though. As for the reason D.C. is number one for traffic congestion, the study cites the region’s relatively strong economy. That, and the ongoing road construction that never seems to stop.

Local transportation experts say the region could grind to a standstill by 2030 unless more highways are built and more mass transit options are created.

Correction: The original version of this article misstated the length of average commutes in Washington. D.C. area drivers spend an average of 74 hours per year in traffic.

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