Atlanta ranks No. 11 among the top 25 most congested cities in the U.S. – significantly lower than other major U.S. cities across the nation, including Boston (No. 1), Washington D.C (No. 2), Chicago (No. 3) and New York City (No. 4), according to data collected in 2018 by INRIX Research. 2017 data collected by INRIX ranked Atlanta No. 4 in the U.S.
Additionally, none of Atlanta’s significant transportation corridors were named in the global organization’s Top 10 Worst U.S. Corridors list. New York City’s Cross Bronx Expressway, Chicago’s Eisenhower Expressway and Los Angeles’ Interstate 10 were named the worst corridors in the nation.
When compared to cities across the globe, Atlanta ranked No. 71, with Moscow, Russia holding the No. 1 spot as the most congested city in the world according to INRIX’s 2018 Global Traffic Scorecard, which measures time lost due to traffic congestion based on time of day.
Despite not being among the worst cities for congestion, INRIX’s findings show that Atlanta commuters do lose an average 108 hours annually due to traffic congestion – and that the cost of congestion per driver totals $1,505.
“The Georgia Department of Transportation has made significant progress in improving mobility throughout the state in recent years,” said Georgia DOT State Traffic Engineer Andrew Heath. “We will continue to make strides to enhance our roadways by reducing congestion and improving safety and functionality across the board.”
Multiple transformative projects have recently been opened to traffic or are currently in development or under construction in Georgia. These projects include:
- Northwest Corridor Express Lanes – Opened to traffic in September 2018, this project added nearly 30 miles of fully reversible, tolled lanes along the I-75 and I-575 corridors northwest of Atlanta. The new lanes have significantly reduced congestion along the I-75 Corridor, cutting average travel times in the general purpose lanes in half and reducing the total time of both morning and evening rush hour. Within four months of opening, commuters took more than 2.5 million trips in the new express lanes.
- I-75 South Metro Express Lanes – This system of fully reversible, barrier separated toll lanes runs 12 miles along I-75 south of Atlanta. The lanes offer more reliable trip times for motorists and have significantly reduced congestion in the corridor.
- I-85 Express Lanes Extension – Opened to traffic in November 2018, this project added 10 miles of new tolled lanes north of the existing I-85 Express Lanes to help improve traffic flow, increase options and provide more reliable travel times for motorists and to serve transit and vanpool riders.
- Transform 285/400 – Under construction since late 2016, this project will reduce traffic congestion and enhance safety in the area near the I-285/SR 400 interchange in north metro Atlanta. This priority project adds new flyover ramps, new collector-distributor lanes and other facilities to aid east-west travel along I-285 and north-south travel along SR 400. The project will improve 4.3 miles of I-285 from west of Roswell Road to east of Ashford Dunwoody Road and 6.2 miles along SR 400 from the Glenridge Connector to Spalding Drive. The project will be completed in late 2020.
In addition, Georgia’s Major Mobility Investment Program (MMIP) consists of 11 major projects that will greatly improve mobility and reduce congestion statewide. MMIP projects planned for metro Atlanta, which will all be open to traffic, under construction or under contract by 2026, include new Express Lanes along SR 400 and top end I-285 between I-75 and I-85; major interchange reconstruction projects at I-285 and I-20 east and west of Atlanta; and interstate widening projects on I-85 northeast of Atlanta. Together, these projects will improve mobility in metro Atlanta and statewide, provide congestion relief for motorists and commercial vehicles and accommodate additional vehicle traffic resulting from Atlanta’s booming population growth.
Information from Georgia Department of Transportation