There’s a lot of things we take for granted about living in the city; everything we need is minutes away and we have a bevy of options for shopping, dining, and groceries. It truly is a modern marvel how we can hop in our cars, get where we need to go in a short time.

However, the downside to this convenience is traffic. So many people have cars nowadays and city populations are expanding faster than infrastructure planners can compensate. The result is traffic jams and congestion. So, here are ten cities that have some of the worst struggles with this issue.

10 Portland, Oregon

Located near the north-west corner of the United States, lies the state of Oregon. Portland is a city here and it, unfortunately, suffers from congestion. While the city itself is quite large, the problem is that many residents don’t live in the main city area. Due to urban sprawl, thousands upon thousands of commuters must hit the roads and highways to enter the city for work.

All of these people trying to go in the same direction at once is the classic recipe for disaster. Thanks to surveys and research, we know that travelers in Portland throw away one hundred and sixteen hours trying to get into their nine to five job.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Philadelphia is a city that is rooted deep in the history of our country. The state of Pennsylvania was one of the original thirteen colonies and one of the homes of the American Revolution. Back then, the city was much, much smaller and was traversed either by foot or by horse and buggy.

Now, in 2019, the city is huge and filled with people. Its streets are being traversed by cars instead of horses and the city is not well equipped to deal with the boom. It was built during a time where such large numbers were almost unimaginable and while there’s no way they could have foreseen the problem, the issue costs people one hundred and twelve hours in travel time.

San Francisco, California


California traffic has been the butt of many a joke. Nearly any comedian, media personality and just ordinary citizens make light of how insane the traffic jams are, how hard it is to get from one place to the other, or how long it took for them to just travel up the street.

San Francisco is one of the places that is often featured in this comedy. The streets and highways are packed with cars full of people, (much like in Portland) trying to get from their home in the suburbs to their place of employment. They spend approximately one hundred and sixteen hours doing this every year.

Seattle, Washington

Seattle of Washington state has many of the same problems that most of the cities on this list have such as urban sprawl, high population, or poor infrastructure. However, there is another factor that contributes to this city’s traffic problem. Seattle is just a short drive (if it’s not rush hour that is) from Canada.

It’s quite common for residents of Seattle and Canada to travel back and forth for both work and leisure. Tourists, business travel, and shipping have added an extra load to the traffic and contributes to the congestion that robs drivers of about one hundred and thirty-eight hours.

New York City, New York


The Big Apple is famous for innumerable things. It’s the setting for many acclaimed movies and T.V. shows, home to celebrities, and a world hub for art and culture. Something it’s infamous for though is its horrendous traffic. The traffic in New York is part of the culture, appearing in the media quite often.

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Despite the fact that a huge portion of the population uses the subway, walks, or bikes, the number of people in the city is so massive, the streets are still often locked in bumper to bumper traffic. The stop and go of The City That Never Sleeps takes up one hundred and thirty-three hours of drivers’ time.

Chicago, Illinois

Chicago, Illinois bears the nickname of the Windy City but perhaps that’s because Congestion City would be bad for tourism. Yet another victim of urban sprawl, traffic going in and out of Chicago is absolutely brutal. Most people are forced to live outside of the city because the cost of living inside the city is just too high, therefore most make a grueling commute every day.

Chicago does have a public rail system, established in 1890, but it has a very limited range of service and it’s ancient. All of this comes together to swipe around one hundred and thirty-eight hours from the people of the city on the shores of Lake Michigan.

Washington, D.C.


The capital of our nation is rich with history, monuments, and unfortunately, traffic. It takes up one hundred and fifty-five hours of American’s time. Part of the equation is the commuter’s old nemesis, urban sprawl. It’s particularly bad in D.C. as it’s mainly a hub for businesses, politics and the various historical sites.

Very few people actually live in D.C. proper and drive into the city from the surrounding states of Virginia and Maryland. Another crucial aspect is tourism. This is the capital of the United States of America we’re talking about here, so it’s a prime sight-seeing spot. With so many people bustling about, it’s no wonder the traffic is so bad.

Jersey City, New Jersey

Jersey City has some pretty bad traffic and while good ol’ urban sprawl is a culprit here, there’s another unique factor that makes traveling the roads, highways and the infamous Hudson-Holland tunnel a frustrating and time-consuming ordeal. Jersey City, particularly the Hudson-Holland Tunnel, connects to downtown Manhattan in New York and the rest of the southern half of New York state.

Due to the proximity, and because living in the actual city is expensive, many people in Jersey City actually commute to work in New York. With all this working against travelers, Jersey City is one of the few places where if you live in the area and are trying to get somewhere close by, you’re actually better off catching a bus!

Houston, Texas

Bigger isn’t necessarily better and since Texas is the second biggest state in the U.S., there is plenty of room for the dreaded urban sprawl. However, the Lone Star state has its own special brand of sprawl. With the smaller states, the compact, dense cities tend to be in one area and the suburbs are off to the sides.

Thus the traffic is all coming and going in the same direction. The sprawl around Houston comes in from all sides. So the thing that makes the commutes so long and dull is purely the distance. Cities and neighborhoods are in pockets spread out amidst the open land of Texas.

Boston, Massachusetts

The city that gets the crown for the worst amount of congestion and traffic jams is none other than Boston, Massachusetts. This city is another historical location as one of the original thirteen colonies and was the setting of events leading up to the American Revolution. This city was also built in a time where the population of the colonies combined wouldn’t even fill a modern city today.

So naturally, it suffered some growing pains as the population and the number of cars increased. The cost of apartments in the city is astounding and this causes people to live in the suburbs and make long commutes to their jobs. All in all, Bostonians lose a whopping one hundred and sixty-four hours every year.