Traffic on Interstate 8
Traffic on Interstate 8 in Mission Valley. File photo by Chris Sone

Motorists in San Diego spent 32 hours in traffic this year, still significant but far less than pre-pandemic levels, according to a report this week by a transportation analytics firm.

It’s also less than the national average, 36 hours, with a cost per driver of $564, an amount that factors in gas, lost productivity and more.

To compare, in Los Angeles, drivers spent an average of 62 hours in traffic this year, well above the national average.

However, Los Angeles isn’t even in the Top 5 of the country’s most congested areas, according to the INRIX 2021 Global Traffic Scorecard. Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, Boston and Miami lead L.A.

The 62 hours lost to congestion in Los Angeles translated to an average cost per driver of $968, according to INRIX.

Researchers said the 32 hours of lost time in traffic in San Diego was down 54% from 2019, a continuing impact of the COVID pandemic.

“COVID-19’s impact on transportation has continued through 2021, transforming when, where and how people move. Although congestion climbed 28% this year, Americans still saved 63 hours compared to normal,” Bob Pishue, a transportation analyst at INRIX, said in a statement. “The most notable change to commuting during the pandemic – other than reduced travel times and volumes – was the lack of downtown travel.”

The study notes that many people continue to work remotely this year, contributing to the drop in traffic heading to downtown areas.

INRIX found that most congested city in the world is London, where motorists lost an average of 148 hours sitting in traffic. Paris was second, with a loss of 140 hours.

– City News Service contributed to this report.