The Car and Truck Fleet and Leasing Management Magazine

New Study Reveals Most Challenging Cities to Navigate in U.S.

August 17, 2004

Some of America's metropolitan areas present a navigational challenge for even the most intelligent, savvy drivers, according to a joint release from Avis and Motorola on August 3.According to a recent study conducted by "Best Places to Live" expert, Bert Sperling, Boston is America's "most challenging city to navigate," followed closely by Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Baltimore, and New York.Following the national launch of Avis Assist, a mobile phone-based navigation system powered by Motorola's VIAMOTO software, Avis Rent-A-Car and Motorola teamed up with the city study specialists at Sperling's Best Places to analyze how difficult America's largest 75 cities are to navigate. Many popular business travel destinations ranked high on the roster, including Los Angeles (7), Seattle (8), Chicago (12), and Orlando (15), while other business travel hot spots such as Salt Lake City (61), San Antonio (64), and Las Vegas (65) were dubbed "driver-friendly."Sperling evaluated the nation's top metro areas according to the following criteria:

  • Street layouts (grids, diagonals, windiness, one-way streets).
  • Overall design and layout (market spread).
  • Travel time index.
  • Percent of congested freeway and street lane miles.
  • Bodies of water (rivers, lakes, oceans, bridges).
  • Complexity of directions needed to travel from major airports to city center.
  • Annual delay per person (person hours).
  • Days of snow exceeding one-and-one-half inches; and days of rain exceeding half an inch.

    Bert Sperling's Top 10 Most Difficult Cities to Navigate:

    1. Boston
    2. Washington, D.C.
    3. San Francisco
    4. Baltimore
    5. New York City / Northeastern N.J.
    6. Ft. Lauderdale / Hollywood / Pompano Beach, FL
    7. Los Angeles
    8. Seattle / Everett, WA
    9. Providence / Pawtucket RI / MA
    10. Norfolk / Newport News / Virginia Beach, VA

    Additional Consumer Survey Findings:

  • When it comes to asking for directions, the age-old gender divide still holds true. Sixty-four percent of women report that they are the ones who have to stop and ask for directions compared to 41 percent of men.
  • Women (71 percent) are more likely then men (56 percent) to feel stressed when they don't know where they are.
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