Good news: Houston doesn't have the most congested roadway in the state. That distinction goes to Austin, according to a new report from the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), with an famous section of I-35 near downtown Austin between U.S. Route 290 and Texas State Highway 71.
Bad news: Houston has five of the Top 10 worst congested roadways and 11 of the Top 20, including:
- No. 2 — 610 West Loop South, between I-10 and U.S. Highway 59 (along the Galleria/Post Oak stretch of the freeway)
- No. 3 — U.S. Highway 59, between I-10 and State Highway 288
- No. 4 — U.S Highway 59, between 610 West and State Highway 288
- No. 8 — I-10, between North Eldridge Parkway and Sam Houston Tollway West
- No. 10 — I-45, between Sam Houston Tollway NW and 610 North
- No. 11 — I-10, between 610 and I-45
The annual 100 Congested Roadways project tracks Texas' traffic hot spots by pulling info from both public and private databases. More than one-third of the top 100 most congested roadways — 36 — are in Harris County.
TxDot used the Texas Congestion Index (TCI) to demonstrate how long it takes to get somewhere during peak flow versus free flow times. To adjust for the worst kind of rush hour traffic, TxDOT also calculated the Planning Time Index (PTI).
Does all this traffic talk sound scary? Unfortunately, it should. TxDOT produces the annual report "to illustrate the severity and extent of Texas' traffic congestion problem."
"Year after year we see one theme that continues to resonate," said Marc Williams, TxDOT's interim deputy director, in a press release. "Our growing communities and worsening traffic congestion in Texas are, in fact, very real, and they call for a variety of solutions."