Dallas ranked among the most congested cities in the U.S. as work from home is phased out

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Have you been experiencing longer delays while driving in North Texas?

That’s because traffic levels across the country are approaching pre-pandemic levels, one study says.

However, while current congestion on the roads mirrors 2019 conditions, traffic hasn’t completely returned to normal, according to data company INRIX, which analyzes real-time and historic traffic patterns. And compared to other major cities in the United States, Dallas-Forth Worth isn’t even facing the worst increase in congestion.

In its ranking, INRIX’s 2022 ‘global traffic scorecard’ examined GPS data to figure out commuting routes as well as peak and free-flow speed data to calculate time lost on roads.

In North Texas, drivers lost an average of 56 hours in 2022, up 15 hours from 2021 but still 11% below pre-pandemic levels. Dallas ranked 14th in terms of congestion.

Urban areas that saw the greatest amount of delays were Chicago, at 155 hours lost, Boston at 134, and New York City at 117. Miami and Las Vegas saw the biggest increases. The national average of hours lost in congestion came in at 51.

Congestion in 2022 also came with a price. In Dallas, congestion cost the city $3.1 billion, or $953 per driver, while traffic in Chicago cost $9.5 billion or $2,618 per driver, according to this study.

With most activities returning to normal in 2022, the year was expected to more closely resemble 2019, but high gas prices put a wrench in these predictions.

“That trend was halted as oil prices began to rise across the world and were further exacerbated by the invasion of Ukraine by neighboring country Russia,” the study reads.

Fuel costs rose by 32% in 2022, according to the study. In spite of soaring gas prices, people continued to drive, but are getting less far — with miles per vehicle only slightly increasing over 2021.

Another finding from the study shows that safety concerns did not change in 2022, even with fewer drivers on the road due to the increase of hybrid work. Last year, the rate of traffic-related deaths was “significantly higher” than in the years between 2011 through 2019.

In addition, telecommuting, or working from home, remained “relatively strong” among many global and national workers. As a result, not all cities saw an increase in commutes to their downtown or city centers.

Compared to cities with smaller populations, Dallas’ ranking comes as a surprise to some. D-FW is considered the fourth-largest metropolitan area in the U.S, with nearly 8 million residents.

Other Texas cities also made it into the top 25, with Houston ranked ninth and Austin 18th.

Here are the top 15 most congested cities in the U.S., according to the study, along with their average amount of traffic delays.

  • Chicago — 155 hours
  • Boston — 134 hours
  • New York City — 117 hours
  • Philadelphia — 114 hours
  • Miami — 105 hours
  • Los Angeles — 95 hours
  • San Francisco — 97 hours
  • Washington, D.C. — 83 hours
  • Houston — 74 hours
  • Atlanta — 74 hours
  • New Orleans, 77 hours
  • Portland, Ore. — 72 hours
  • Stamford, Conn. — 73 hours
  • Dallas — 56 hours
  • Baltimore — 55 hours

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