The Cities With the Worst Morning and Evening Commutes in 2018

If it seems like commuting to work takes longer than ever before, that’s because it does. U.S. Census data released in December 2017 showed how much worse it’s gotten since 2012.

It probably won’t come as a surprise that people in big cities got hit the hardest. To that point, we imagine New Yorkers have the time to send 8.21 text messages per hour from their phones because they’re sitting around in traffic so often.

A new study by safe-driving app Drivemode shows just how bad it’s gotten for morning and evening commuters. By analyzing GPS data of 455,000 drivers between January 2017 and May 2018, Drivemode was able to see which major metropolitan areas can drive you nuts heading to work.

Here are the 15 big cities with the longest commute times — both before and after work — in 2018.

15. Phoenix

Glendale, Peoria and Phoenix from North Mountain Park, Arizona

The average Phoenix resident spends between 46 minutes on their evening commute. | EuToch

  • Worst commute time: 5-6 p.m.
  • Average commute: 45.92 minutes

In Phoenix, the problem isn’t necessarily sitting in traffic. According to the data, area drivers have some of the quickest times to drive one mile during rush hours.

However, the sprawling character of the Phoenix metro area means commutes are long, anyway. The worst time of all is 5-6 p.m., when the average driver spends 46 minutes behind the wheel.

Next: In The Motor City, evening traffic builds up early.

14. Detroit

highway sign

The worst time to be on the roads in Detroit is between 3 and 4 p.m.| Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images

  • Worst commute time: 3-4 p.m.
  • Average commute: 46.25 minutes

Evening traffic builds up early in Detroit, with the worst of it coming around 3 p.m. That was the earliest time for a slow evening rush hour in the country.

Meanwhile, the worst time to drive around The Motor City in mornings is 9-10 a.m. For a state with some of the speediest drivers in the country, things don’t move so fast in Detroit.

Next: Folks in this bustling Texas city spend over 47 minutes in their evening commute.

13. Houston

Houston highway

Traffic backs up on a freeway on September 5, 2017, in Houston, Texas. | Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

  • Worst commute time: 4-5 p.m.
  • Average commute: 47.59 minutes

When a city is growing as quickly as Houston, you can expect traffic delays. That’s certainly the case during the early evening commute.

Things really get slow around 4 p.m., when the average commute will set you back about 47 minutes and 30 seconds.

Next: Washington’s biggest city is equally bad during morning and night.

12. Seattle

downtown Seattle

To avoid Seattle traffic, hit the road early in the morning or late in the evening. | RomanKhomlyak/iStock/Getty Images

  • Worst commute time: 5-6 p.m.
  • Average commute: 47.79 minutes

If you want to escape the heaviest Seattle traffic, you better hit the road early (6 a.m.) and leave late (6 p.m.).  Otherwise, you’re going to spend a good deal of time in your car.

Drivemode data showed little difference between 7-8 a.m. (47.68 minutes) and 5-6 p.m. (47.79 minutes), the worst commute times for morning and evening in town.

Next: For a city built exclusively for cars, it’s amazing how slowly traffic moves here.

11. Tampa


Most Tampa residents are stuck driving to work, and they spend plenty of time in their cars. | iStock/Getty Images

  • Worst commute time: 4-5 p.m.
  • Average commute: 48.32 minutes

If you’ve spent any time in Tampa, you know you better have a car. The city’s nearly nonexistent public transportation system leaves you few other options.

City planners tried to limit that disadvantage by building expressways and highway-like roads all through town, yet to no avail. Traffic volume still makes the worst commute over 48 minutes, starting at 4 p.m.

Next: It was only a matter of time before California cities began checking in on this list.

10. Riverside-San Bernardino

traffic on highway

Morning rush-hour traffic in Riverside, California. | David McNew/Getty Images

  • Worst commute time: 5-6 p.m.
  • Average commute: 48.57 minutes

You can’t count down a list of slow commutes without giving California cities their due. The first Golden State town to check in is Riverside, where the commute gets really ugly around 5 p.m.

That’s when you’ll spend an average of 48.5 minutes getting home in your car.

Next: Commutes are long and dull in The Windy City.

9. Chicago

traffic jam

A traffic jam in Chicago | Scott Olson/Getty Images

  • Worst commute time: 4-5 p.m.
  • Average commute: 50.20 minutes

If you hate slow traffic and long commutes, don’t head out in your car in Chicago around 4 p.m. That’s when traffic is at its worst in town, and starting at 5 it gets really slow, too.

Windy City drivers spend 2.77 minutes to travel one mile during the evening rush. Not surprisingly, that’s when text messaging in vehicles is at a high volume in Illinois, so stay alert.

Next: While Miami traffic is pretty much always bad, it’s the worst at this hour.

8. Miami

Traffic jam on a highway in Miami

Heavy traffic along I-95 in Miami, Florida. | Joe Raedle/Getty Images

  • Worst commute time: 5-6 p.m.
  • Average commute: 50.23 minutes

You won’t find a slower (by speed) evening commute than you do in Miami, starting at 5 p.m. According to Drivemode data, it takes drivers 3.09 minutes to cover a single mile in your car.

None of America’s 20 largest cities featured slower driving, and you’ll end up with a 50-minute commute.

Next: This East Coast city makes drivers equally miserable early and late.

7. Boston

Boston City

Rush hour traffic on the Tobin Bridge in Boston. | Mihai Andritoiu/iStock/Getty Images

  • Worst commute time: 4-5 p.m.
  • Average commute: 50.30 minutes

If Bostonians think they’re getting the jump on traffic by leaving early (6-7 a.m.), think again. That commute averages a duration of 49.7 minutes.

The only time it gets worse is on the way home from work (starting at 4 p.m.) when it tops 50 minutes. We suggest taking public transit in one of the U.S. cities where it’s actually available.

Next: In The City of Brotherly Love, traffic gets heavy early.

6. Philadelphia

Philadelphia seen from Camden New Jersey

The Philadelphia skyline as seen from Camden, New Jersey. | Allard1/Getty Images

  • Worst commute time: 6-7 a.m.
  • Average commute: 50.51 minutes

If you ever wonder why so many things close early in Philly, check out their morning rush hour. Things really get heated at 6 a.m., when a commute takes 50.5 minutes —  the worst of any hour of the day.

Naturally, the evening rush starts early (3-4 p.m.) and is nearly just as long (50.42 minutes). That’s plenty of time to replay memories of the 2018 Super Bowl win in your head.

Next: Polluted air and long, slow commutes await you in this California city.

5. San Francisco

Golden Gate Bridge

Traffic backs on the Golden Gate Bridge |  Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

  • Worst commute time: 4-5 p.m.
  • Average commute: 51.08 minutes

Evening commutes will drive you crazy in San Francisco. For starters, few places feature a longer time at 51.08 minutes, starting around 4 p.m.

By 5 p.m., drivers are plodding along at the rate of 2.84 minutes per mile, and we’re sure that adds to the city’s pollution problem.

Sure, San Francisco is one of the prettiest cities you’ll find in America, but this type of commute could even make you sick of those picturesque Victorian houses.

Next: You can leave early in this city, but you might get there around the same time.

4. Washington D.C.

US Capitol Building

The worst time to be on the roads in D.C. is between 7 and 8 a.m. | Mark Wilson/Getty Images

  • Worst commute time: 7-8 a.m.
  • Average commute: 52.15 minutes

Here’s a tip for D.C. drivers: Don’t leave too early. The city’s worst commute of the day (52 minutes) falls between the hours of 7-8 a.m.

Meanwhile, the quickest commute you can make (45 minutes) happens between 8-9 a.m. If you can find that sweet spot, it could mean an extra 7 minutes of sleep every morning.

Next: Atlanta’s famously bad traffic peaks at this hour.

3. Atlanta

Atlanta, Georgia, USA downtown city

Atlanta has a reputation for terrible traffic. | Sean Pavone/iStock/Getty Images

  • Worst commute time: 4-5 p.m.
  • Average commute: 52.91 minutes

In a city that’s become famous for traffic, things really get heated at 4 p.m. That’s when the afternoon rush starts, and you’ll spend an average of 53 minutes getting wherever you’re going.

Even for a city with ugly morning commutes (50 minutes between 7-8 a.m.), that’s quite the grueling trip.

Next: You knew this California city would be among the worst.

2. Los Angeles

Shot of the 110 freeway on February 21, 2017 in Los Angeles, California.

Los Angeles residents have to deal with some of the worst commuting conditions in America. | Getty Images

  • Worst commute time: 4-5 p.m.
  • Average commute: 54.69 minutes

Want to lose 55 minutes of your life on a daily basis? Drive around Los Angeles between 4-5 p.m. That’s when a city famous for bad traffic gets really bad for commuters. (Actually, 55 minutes seems like a low number.)

A close second is the 7-8 a.m. hour, when you’ll spend about 53 minutes getting to where you’re going. Here’s to hoping the City of Angels one day gets the mass transit system it deserves (but don’t hold your breath).

Next: If these numbers don’t make you take public transportation, nothing will.

1. New York

New York City traffic

Traffic crawls on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway | Drew Angerer/Getty Images

  • Worst commute time: 5-6 p.m.
  • Average commute: 55.77 minutes

No wonder New Yorkers are firing off so many texts in the car. The worst of the city’s many bad commutes (5-6 p.m.) knocks an average of 56 minutes off your life (one-way).

It’s the worst evening commute in America, but here’s the thing: New York City features the worst morning commute, too. Between 7-8 a.m., you’ll spend an average 55.72 minutes getting to work.

Not only is the commute long; it’s also one of the slowest (3.08 minutes per mile) in America. Take the train, people.

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