Chicago Traffic Sucks

Chicago: Nation's third most congested city

We're #3.  And that's not a good thing.

A recent study of traffic congestion in American cities has placed The Second City as the third most likely to suffer bottlenecks.

While the study by Seattle-based Inrix shows that traffic congestion across the country was down anywhere from 15 - 60 percent in 2008, with fewer people on the roads in a down economy.

"When the economy's good, traffic's bad. More people have jobs, so more people are out on the roads. But when the economy's bad, traffic's better," according to Meg Coyle, with King5 News in Seattle.

Lean or lush times, however, find roadways in Chicago to be busy.

Between 5 and 6 p.m. Thursday is now the most-congested travel hour of the week in the Chicago area, according to the INRIX National Traffic Scorecard, a yearly look at traffic congestion across the nation. Last year, it was the 5-6 p.m. hour on Fridays.

The reason for the change?

It could be that more people are working part-time or "flex-time," and Friday is a frequent day for flex-timers to take off or work from home, said Chicago traffic expert Joe Schwieterman.

Inrix predictably found Los Angeles to be the most congested city in the USA, with New York ranked at #2, Chicago at the #3 spot and Dallas/Fort Worth at #4.

Not surprisingly, the study found congestion is the worst in most cities on Fridays, between 4 and 5 p.m.

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