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Study: Seattle traffic is 10th worst in U.S.

We’re wasting 55 hours a year in congestion

A view of the viaduct shows cars stuck in traffic southbound. Juan Antonio Garcia Jimenez/Getty Images

Commuting in Seattle keeps getting worse, according to a study by Inrix. We wasted a mind-numbing average of 55 hours per person in traffic in 2016. Seattle’s traffic ranked the tenth worst in the U.S. based on time stuck in traffic. Globally, we rank 23rd.

While it may seem on paper like things have improved—we’re down a whopping 11 hours from 2015, and rank 10th instead of sixth—the methodology has changed, so the numbers are not directly comparable. Inrix tells Curbed Seattle that traffic, like last year, has gotten worse year over year, not better.

Unsurprisingly, traffic is at the worst during peak hours, with roads leading into the city—versus roads within the city—getting hit the worst, with 24 percent of drive time on those roads spent in congestion. Roads within the city aren’t far behind, at 21 percent.

During the day, traffic corridors leading into the city calm down more than roads within the city limits. But even during late nights and weekends, Seattleites can expect to spend nine percent of their drive time in congestion.

With commute times like this, it’s no wonder that 95 percent of new Downtown commuters choose an option besides driving alone. 47 percent of daily commutes to downtown now happen on public transit, and nine percent by bike or feet.

For people still reliant on cars, this data can seem harrowing. But least we’re not Los Angeles—the number one ranked city spent a whopping 104 hours in congestion, or more than four days.