Complaining about congested roads is something of a national pastime both in the U.S. and Canada, and after research from BetGeorgia.com revealed the average travel times facing commuters in major cities, it’s not hard to see why. Lateness is on the rise in cities that are overflowing with road users occupying crumbling infrastructure, creating a situation that leaves the odds of being on time for work, social events, flights, or family gatherings increasingly small.
By comparing the average time taken to cross major cities in 2015 with data for 2022, BetGeorgia’s research paints a picture of the places finding it difficult to adapt to modern demands for efficient transport options. What’s more, the data has been used to project average travel times for 2030, which should ring alarm bells for city planners in those places that came out on top.
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Way out in front as the North American city most likely to make you late is Los Angeles, where the average one-way journey across the city takes 61.07 minutes. Just over an hour! Travel for work and leisure has come back with a bang in the aftermath of the pandemic across LA, leaving commuters and visitors frustrated and struggling to make appointments on time.
The picture is not much rosier up the coast in San Francisco, where outdated and undersized road infrastructure contributes to an average travel time across the city of 51.33 minutes. Some say the Bay Area has the worst roads in the United States, but that claim may be disputed by residents of other cities in the travel time top five.
Detroit, which comes in third place with an average travel time of 45.09 minutes, is well known for having roads that seem to be in a constant state of disrepair, while Boston, which is fourth with an average travel time of 44.98 minutes, has seen vehicle traffic rebound quickly after the pandemic took many off the road.
Finally, higher fuel prices, inflationary pressure and supply chain issues have all made it harder for many road users to go about their daily business, but that has not stopped travel times in Toronto from reaching an average of 44.92 minutes, up from 44.30 minutes in 2015.
Various factors could lead to a reduction in congestion across North American cities by the time 2030 rolls around, but a glance at the projected travel time figures based on current trends should have city planners rushing to take action.
Los Angeles is expected to remain as the frontrunner, with a projected average travel time of 90.82 minutes in 2030 — almost half an hour longer than it currently takes to cross the City of Angels! San Francisco is set for a surge in congestion if its infrastructure is not upgraded, with an average travel time of 70.53 projected for 2030.
Boston will become the city third-most likely to make you late in 2030 with an average journey time of 49.65 minutes — a 10.4% increase on its 2022 time of 44.98 minutes.
Toronto climbs the travel time chart to fourth place in the projected 2030 standings, with an average journey time of 48.03 minutes, and there is a new entrant with Minneapolis nudging Detroit out of the top five with a journey time of 46.61 minutes.
The state of Georgia has just one entrant in the top 10 longest travel times list, and it is little surprise the region’s largest city and capital is the one most challenged by traffic congestion.
Atlanta has a population of 498,044, making it the largest city in the state of Georgia by some distance, with Augusta the next most populous (201,554). While Atlanta’s average travel time of 41.92 minutes puts it in 10th place on the list, there is good news for residents hoping to make sure they get to their appointments on time.
The state of Georgia has advanced a number of major congestion reduction programs, and the projected travel time for Atlanta in 2030 is 39.93 minutes — down 2.6% on its 2022 time. Residents of Georgia’s capital will hope the ongoing improvements make the roads safer and more efficient.
To find out where you have the greatest chance of being late, we analyzed Numbeo’s time index figures, which highlighted the average one-way time needed to transport through the city (in minutes). In order to predict figures for 2023, historical travel data was run through a linear forecast regression model, which calculated future values.
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