Honolulu’s traffic is bad. But we could have it worse.
Despite seeing the biggest decrease in traffic congestion in 2012 among the nation’s top 10 cities for worst traffic, Honolulu dropped only one spot — to second place — behind Los Angeles, an annual Inrix Inc. study found.
Because of congestion, the average motorist in the Los Angeles metropolitan area spent an extra 59 hours in traffic during 2012, according to a national scorecard from traffic information firm INRIX.
That was nine hours more than drivers in Honolulu. Drivers here also suffered a 4 percent increase in congestion so far this year.
San Francisco was in third place for congestion, followed by Austin, Texas; New York and Bridgeport, Conn.
San Jose, Calif., was in seventh place, followed by Seattle, Washington, D.C., and Boston.
The report looked at major metropolitan areas and measured how much longer it took drivers to get somewhere because of congestion in 2012. It found that most areas also are seeing more traffic jams this year.
Nationally, congestion from January through March of this year was up 4 percent compared to the same period in 2012, while Los Angeles saw a 6 percent spurt, said Jim Bak, the study’s author.
Among the other top 10 communities for traffic jams, seven saw more congestion for the three-month period. Boston topped the list with a 30 percent increase.
Seattle’s rate dropped by 11 percent and Washington was down 5 percent, INRIX said.
The recovering economy played a large role in increasing traffic woes, Bak said.
The Los Angeles area added about 90,000 new jobs during that period, Bak said.
“We’re really seeing a strong correlation between return of employment and return of traffic,” Bak said.
“More people going back to work means … more people are willing to go out and spend money,” he said. “They’re going shopping, they’re going to a movie.”
It also means merchants are shipping and receiving more products, further adding to the congestion.
“You want to not like bad traffic but on the other hand it shows the economy is coming along pretty well,” Bak said. “It’s kind of a good news, bad news for drivers.”
The worst times to be on Los Angeles roads were Tuesday morning and Friday afternoon, the study said.