Jammed up

San Antonio stuck on new list of world's most traffic-congested cities

San Antonio stuck on new list of world's most traffic-congested cities

Austin traffic highway I-35 congestion
San Antonio's traffic woes have us ranked among the world's most congested cities. Courtesy photo

This might make your commuting headaches feel even worse: A global index ranks San Antonio among the country’s 50 most traffic-congested cities.

TomTom, a provider of navigation technology, measured traffic congestion for 2018 in 403 cities across 56 countries. The new TomTom Traffic Index puts San Antonio at No. 321 globally and No. 43 nationally for traffic congestion, as well as No. 4 in Texas. 

In San Antonio, drivers spent an average of 17 percent extra travel time stuck in traffic last year, according to TomTom. The worst day in 2018 for traffic congestion in San Antonio: April 25 (34 percent). The best: Christmas Day (0 percent).

As one of the fastest growing areas in the nation, San Antonio's traffic congestion is poised to get worse. By 2040, the average driver will spend an additional 40 minutes a day stuck in traffic, according to transportation nonprofit ConnectSA. The group has unveiled an ambitious long-term transit plan, featuring 25 recommendations to help reduce traffic congestion on traditional roadways and give San Antonians more transit options in the future.

Traffic problems aren’t unique to San Antonio, of course. Austin, Houston, and Dallas-Fort Worth also are grappling with increased traffic as the state’s biggest metro areas continue to experience surges in population.

On the TomTom index, Austin, where people spent an extra 25 percent of travel time stuck in traffic, ranked No. 179 in the world, No. 14 in the U.S., and No. 1 in Texas. Houston ranked 204th in the world, No. 18 in the U.S., and No. 2 in Texas for travel congestion last year (23 percent).

Dallas-Fort Worth drove into the No. 299 spot globally, No. 35 spot nationally, and No. 3 in Texas for traffic congestion in 2018 (18 percent), TomTom says.

The TomTom Traffic Index is based on anonymized GPS data collected from navigation devices, in-dash systems, and smartphones.

“Globally, traffic congestion is rising. And that’s both good and bad news. It’s good because it indicates a strong global economy, but the flip side is drivers wasting time sitting in traffic, not to mention the huge environmental impact,” Ralf-Peter Schaefer, TomTom’s vice president of traffic information, says in a release.

According to TomTom, the most traffic-congested U.S. city in 2018 was Los Angeles, It ranked 24th globally (an average 41 percent extra travel time stuck in traffic). New York City was second in the U.S., followed by San Francisco; San Jose, California; and Seattle.

Topping the global list was Mumbai, India, where drivers spent an average 65 percent extra travel time stuck in traffic. It was followed by Bogota, Colombia (63 percent); Lima, Peru (58 percent); New Delhi, India (58 percent); and Moscow (56 percent).

Earlier this year, the INRIX 2018 Global Traffic Scorecard, an analysis of traffic congestion and mobility in more than 200 global cities, found San Antonio ranked as the 163rd most traffic-congested city in the world, 60th in the U.S., and fourth in Texas. It’s based on data about time wasted in traffic and severity of traffic congestion.

The INRIX scorecard put Houston in 77th place globally, 13th place nationally, and first place in Texas. Austin ranked 84th in the world, 14th in the U.S., and second in Texas. Dallas came in at 122nd globally, 21st nationally, and third in Texas.