The worst traffic bottlenecks in Los Angeles County

Originally published on 23 Nov 2015 for 89.3 KPCC

Los Angeles may not have the number 1 traffic bottleneck in the United States, but it’s home to 11 of the 30 worst in the nation. 

That’s according to a study released Monday by the transportation advocacy group the American Highway Users Alliance, which ranked the country’s 50 most congested roads as measured by hours of delay. The report identified a 12-mile section of the Kennedy Expressway in Chicago as having the worst traffic jam, followed by stretches of the 405, the 10, the 101 and the 110.

CPCS Transcom, a firm that specializes in transportation strategy and policy, prepared the report for the American Highway Users Alliance. It estimated delays by analyzing weekday speed profiles collected from GPS probes for more than 350,000 urban highway segments across the country in 2014. The study said that state departments of transportation and regional organizations were also consulted. 

So where’s the worst traffic in L.A., which has the most bottlenecks out of all metropolitan areas identified in the study? A 4-mile stretch of the 405 between the 605 and the Garden Grove Freeway. According to the report, it can be blamed for about 7.1 million hours of delay, valued at about $191 million in lost time.

Of the 11 bottlenecks in the L.A. metropolitan area included in the list, 10 are in L.A. County. After the 405 between the 605 and the Garden Grove Freeway, the study named the following as the worst bottlenecks in the county:

  • I-10 (Santa Monica Freeway, No. 3) in downtown L.A. and between La Brea Avenue and National Boulevard (No. 13)
  • I-405 in West L.A. between Venice and Wilshire Boulevards (No. 4)
  • The Hollywood Freeway (U.S. 101) between Franklin Avenue and Glendale Boulevard (No. 5)
  • The Harbor Freeway (I-110) in downtown L.A. between Exposition Boulevard and Stadium Way (No. 6). 
  • The U.S. 101 Freeway between Sepulveda and Laurel Canyon (No. 7) leading up to the I-405 interchange
  • The merged I-5/I-10 section between U.S.-101 and N. Mission Road (No. 11)
  • The Golden State Freeway (I-5) between S. Eastern and Euclid Avenues (No. 14)
  • The I-405 Freeway between Burbank and Ventura Boulevards (No. 29) in the Valley
  • The U.S. 101 Freeway/Downtown Slot (No. 30) between SR-110 and Alameda Street

“The results are a sad reminder that bottlenecks harm the quality of life of motorists nationwide,” said Kathleen Bower of AAA in a statement. “Our states desperately need stable and predictable funding to fix these problems so that highway bottlenecks no longer rob people of time, endanger driver safety or cause costly wear and tear on vehicles.”

In the statement, the American Highway Users Alliance’s Greg Cohen noted that Congress is in the process of finalizing the first major long-term highway bill in more than a decade.

“We will have a tremendous opportunity to fix the trouble spots that cause motorists and truckers daily frustration, idling engines that waste fuel and emit greenhouse gases,” Cohen said.

For the complete list and the methodology used, read the full report:

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