Driving us up a wall
If you’ve been trapped on I-69/Southwest Freeway or pretty much any other highway in Houston, you can appreciate a new ranking of the worst U.S. cities to be stuck in traffic.
Houston ranks 10th on the list, compiled by auto insurance company HiRoad. The company judged cities based on two factors: commute delays due to traffic congestion and share of tweets complaining about traffic. No other Texas city lands in the top 10.
Chicago grabs the top spot on HiRoad’s list of the worst cities to be stuck in traffic, followed by New York City; Philadelphia; Portland, Oregon; and San Francisco.
Helping drive Houston to the No. 10 spot: I-69 zips to 10th place in HiRoad’s rundown of the U.S. highways that draw the most Twitter complaints from motorists.
Of course, I-69 can’t take all the blame for Houston’s traffic troubles:
- In 2021, I-45 was ranked the second deadliest highway in the country, while I-10 was parked at No. 12.
- I-610 ranked fifth in the country on a 2019 list of the most congested highways for truckers.
- West Loop Freeway/I-610 topped a 2021 list of the most clogged roadways in Texas.
Houston stalled at No. 3 in a study released last year of large metro areas where motorists wasted the most time in traffic. Only New York City and Boston fared worse than Houston.
The Houston area “is at a critical juncture when it comes to transportation planning,” Adam Beckom, transportation manager for the Houston-Galveston Area Council, said in March. “The decisions we make regarding where we dedicate our resources and what kinds of projects we choose to invest in will set the stage for how resilient we are, our ability to accommodate our region’s continued rapid growth, and what quality of life will our residents have in the future.”
Houston wasn’t the only Texas city to show up in HiRoad’s data, though. Fort Worth ranked seventh for the share (37.5 percent) of “stressed” tweets from motorists. The nationwide analysis looked at 1.3 million tweets from this May.
The same Twitter analysis showed Texans’ biggest pet peeve when it comes to driving is speeding. Nearly 52 percent of tweets on the topic were perceived to be “stressed.” And as for the most stressed-out day on Texas roads, the analysis shows it’s Wednesday.
“Traffic was found to be the most annoying pet peeve in the majority of states, and overall, we discovered that bad weather makes drivers the most stressed,” says Steve Harris, vice president of HiRoad.