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Philadelphia traffic ranked 8th-worst in U.S. in national study

Philadelphia traffic ranked 8th-worst in U.S. in national study
Philadelphia traffic ranked 8th-worst in U.S. in national study 00:52

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - Philadelphia's traffic was ranked eighth-worst in the United States in a new study using data from 2023.

Technology and mapping company TomTom's annual Traffic Index 2023 was released in January showing how bad traffic is in cities across the U.S.

New York fared the worst in the index, with TomTom reporting drivers needing an average of 24 minutes and 50 seconds to travel just 10 kilometers.

New Yorker drivers lost a whopping 112 hours sitting in rush hour traffic in 2023, according to TomTom.

Here are the 10 worst cities for traffic in the U.S., according to TomTom:

  1. New York
  2. Washington
  3. San Francisco
  4. Boston
  5. Chicago
  6. Baltimore
  7. Seattle
  8. Philadelphia
  9. Los Angeles
  10. Miami

PennDOT explains what they're doing to alleviate traffic in Philadelphia

We chatted with PennDOT spokesperson Brad Rudolph to hear more about what the agency is doing to alleviate traffic in the region. There are projects in the works including allowing travel on what's currently a shoulder lane on parts of I-76, and other tech-based efforts like trying to take control of traffic lights that let people onto the highways - these lights are owned by myriad municipalities along the highways.

On I-76, there will be a project to turn the shoulder into a travel lane - this would be in both directions of I-76 between I-476 and Route 202 into Upper Merion. The project would also be in place on a section of Westbound I-76 from U.S. 1 to Belmont, Rudolph said. That project is still in the engineering phase and it may be a few years before it gets running.

"We have a lot of projects to address some of the congestion we're seeing, certainly at interchanges, some capacity-adding projects, but mostly just using newer strategies and technological advances to improve...critical corridors," Rudolph said.

PennDOT is also trying to make traffic better by making efforts to avoid construction during peak hours.

A lot of the changes will be technology and strategy-based and not construction-based. 

"We're talking about stretches of highway that have between 120,000 and 200,000 vehicles per day. It's difficult and not cost-efficient to build yourself out of it" in every instance, Rudolph said.

Driving in Philadelphia: by the numbers

TomTom says on average, it took Philadelphia drivers 15 minutes and 40 seconds to travel 10 kilometers in 2023. Across the whole metro area, that's lowered to 12 minutes.

The average driver in the Philadelphia metro area spends 106 hours a year in their vehicle, and 30 hours of that is attributed to congestion.

In the city of Philadelphia, the average driver spends 146 hours in their car.

Drivers within the city limits lose 54 hours per year sitting in rush hour traffic, TomTom reports.

We've reached out to Mayor Cherelle Parker's administration and the city Streets Department for comment on the study and will update this story if we hear back.

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