Highway 78 in Oceanside. Photo by Rschen7754 via Wikimedia Commons
Light Highway 78 in Oceanside. Photo by Rschen7754 via Wikimedia Commons

San Diego drivers frequently complain about traffic, but a new report finds congestion to be the lowest among the nation’s 15 largest metro areas.

Washington, D.C., ranked first and Los Angeles second in the 2015 Urban Mobility Scorecard released Wednesday, but San Diego was 15th among metro areas over 3 million population, and 43rd overall, in the same congestion league as Albany-Schenectady NY.

San Diego commuters wasted an average of 42 hours a year in traffic, but that was half of the 82 hours wasted by drivers in the nation’s capital. Other cities with high congestion were Los Angeles at 80 hours, San Francisco at 78 hours, New York at 74 hours and San Jose at 67 hours.

The scorecard, prepared by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute and the data analytics company INRIX, said traffic congestion has become so bad in major urban areas that drivers frequently have to plan more than twice as much travel time as they would need to arrive on time in light traffic.

“Our growing traffic problem is too massive for any one entity to handle — state and local agencies can’t do it alone,” says Tim Lomax, a report co-author and a regents fellow at the transportation institute.

“Businesses can give their employees more flexibility in where, when and how they work, individual workers can adjust their commuting patterns, and we can have better thinking when it comes to long-term land use planning. This problem calls for a classic ‘all-hands-on-deck’ approach.”

Nationwide traffic congestion wastes nearly 7 billion hours of time, the report found

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.