Crowded Roads Sign of Improving Economy

Bring lunch when traveling on the 405
Bring lunch when traveling on the 405

So far this year road traffic has been getting worse. Not to worry, because according to INRIX, this is a sign that the economy is getting out of grid lock.

The relationship between congested roads and an improving economy is easy to understand, says INRIX CEO Bryan Mistele. More people going to work; more trucks making deliveries to businesses; equals more vehicles on the roads.

On the other hand, although it is a sign of a stronger economy, the slower traffic means wasted fuel and time, to the tune of $121 billion in 2011.

The INRIX report also listed the country’s worst roads as far as congestion is concerned, for the year 2012. It is not a shock that the roads in New York City and Los Angeles can sometimes feel more like parking lots than throughways.

1.    Cross Bronx Expressway: is not too express. This road in the northern part of NYC was ranked the most crowded in the country, costing commuters about 6 days stuck in traffic in a year.

2.    San Diego Freeway (I-405 Southbound): It might be free, but this crowded LA road is at its worst on Tuesday mornings, when it costs travelers 50 minutes of their precious time to drive just eight miles.

3.    Van Wyck Expressway: Back in New York, this connecting road between Queens and Brooklyn has an average speed of 10 miles per hour on Thursdays between 4pm and 5pm.

4.    Santa Monica Freeway: On this Los Angeles east-west artery it can take one hour to travel the 15 miles from Lincoln Boulevard in Santa Monica to Alameda.

5.    Riverside Freeway: Commuters lost about 6 days in a year traveling on this Los Angeles byway.

INRIX is a provider of traffic information to car manufacturers and commercial fleets. The company then analyzes the data and provides traffic reports and long-term analysis.

About Alison Meadows

Alison Meadows has a PHD in Economic Trends in Modern Times and is a known writer who focuses on hedge fund investments. Meadows, her husband, and three kids live in Boston, where she grew up and attended college. Contact Alison at alison[at]