TomTom has released its 4th annual TomTom Traffic Index, a barometer of traffic congestion in 186 cities across the six developed continents. The 2014 study specifically analyzed the increased traffic patterns on non-highway secondary roads in the United States, with new results revealing that the common traffic shortcuts drivers take to avoid congestion are actually adding 50 percent more travel time to trips. The complete report including U.S. city specific data can be viewed at

TomTom’s Traffic Index compares travel times during non-congested hours (free flow) with travel times in peak hours. Researchers found that commuters around the world are spending an average of eight working days per year stuck in traffic. In the U.S., the study examined 53 metropolitan areas with a population of more than 800,000 and showed that Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Honolulu remain the most congested U.S. cities.

Ranked by overall traffic levels, the TomTom Traffic Index reports that the top ten most congested U.S. cities in 2013 were:

1. Los Angeles (36%): Congestion increased 2 percent to highest levels seen in the past five years.

2. San Francisco (32%): Congestion increased from 2012.

3. Honolulu (29%): Congestion decreased from 2012.

4. Seattle (27%): Slight increase in congestion level.

5. San Jose (26%): Slight increase in congestion level.

6. New York (26%): New to top 10, increase in congestion.

7. Miami (24%)

8. Washington, DC (24%)

9. Portland (22%)

10. New Orleans (22%)

Additional highlights of the 2014 study include:

  • Thursday evening commute is the worst peak congestion in most U.S. cities.
  • Kansas City and Indianapolis are the least congested cities featured in the study.
  • Severe weather was a significant cause behind some of 2013’s busiest traffic days across the U.S.

“Traffic congestion is nothing new and the traditional responses are no longer proving to be effective. Real time traffic information can help drivers find the quickest shortcut on their journey, and assist governments to make smarter decisions to improve traffic flow for their cities,” said Jocelyn Vigreux, President of TomTom, Inc.