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Los Angeles ranks high in 'commuter pain' study, but things could be worse

An international "commuter pain" survey released Wednesday shows how Los Angeles compares with 19 other major cities around the world.

The results?

Los Angeles had the worst rating of the three U.S. cities included in the IBM study. But 12 cities scored higher ratings on the Commuter Pain Index, which measured the most frustrating aspects of driving. Amsterdam tied with Los Angeles.

Beijing and Mexico City have the highest level of commuter pain, according to the study. Both scored a 99 on the index. The maximum score on the scale is 100.

Other cities with high ratings included Johannesburg, South Africa (97); Moscow (84); and New Dehli (81). Los Angeles scored 25, while New York scored 19 and Houston 17.

Los Angeles has had the worst rating among American cities in IBM's last two surveys. Of the Angelenos surveyed, 43% said they believed traffic had gotten worse in the last three years, 47% said traffic had negatively affected their health and 15% said traffic had negatively affected their performance at work or school.

The index considered commuting time and time stuck in traffic. Nearly 8,200 people were interviewed in 20 cities for the study, with at least 400 in each participating city.

-- Sam Allen

Photo: An aerial view of the 10 and 110  freeway interchange in downtown Los Angeles. Credit: John W. Adkisson / Los Angeles Times

Comments () | Archives (25)

Think road rage is bad now in the LA rat race wait till the commuters are taxed on the the terrble miles they have to drive to live in a safe place away form the gangs that inhabit the homes near work that keep decent people on the road the many long hours.

With traffic so bad here, I shudder to think what it's like in Bejing, Mexico City, etc. Who would think that traffic in NY City would be better than here! HA!

Abbie just wrote a 53-word comment. Not a record, true, but still pushing an English teacher's envelope.

Notice that Los Angeles only fares better than cities located in 3rd World or developing countries. And New York City has better traffic even though not a single freeway/expressway runs through lower Manhattan.
So thank you to the "visionary" Los Angeles civic leaders throughout the mid to late 20th Century for dismantling LA's superior public tranit system and irreparably scarring the city with freeways that now resemble parking lots. You've helped make this the true (3rd) world-class city it is today.

@ AbbiePeters What are you talking about? I mean that not in a derogatory fashion, I sincerely have no idea what you are talking about.
Anyway, I can't imagine what it's like to try and commute in a place that is 99 if LA is ONLY a 25! Is that based on cars alone or using mass transit too?

Really we need to remove cars from the road. Whatever it takes, this is the only solution. We need to ramp up mass transit. Get people walking and biking to work and to the grocery store. If cars are reducing our productivity, our educational standards and our health, than we need to kick the habit.

LA should be tied with mexico.
LA is mexico.

I have physical commuter pain if that is what they mean. I am over 45 and sometimes my thigh hurts and my hands get stiff if I am in rush hour for very long or stop-and-go traffic on the weekends for very long. Public transportation here sucks, yeah, thanks a lot to the shortsighted poltiticians who dismantled the system many decades ago. May they rot in Hell.

Traveling anywhere beyond 3 miles is a nightmare regardless how you do it in this fine city of ours.

I don't know what Angelenos think is so awful. I've lived here 6 years, but I came from the Midwest and when I went back I was SHOCKED at how much worse city traffic was there during rush hour. Everyone seemed grossly inexperienced by comparison, so I think L.A. is actually BETTER in some ways. PARKING may be a "nightmare," but if it's not rush hour I don't really have to worry about a three mile drive anywhere.

Take out some lanes from the freeway and put in some commuter rail lines or high speed bus lines. Car population could only grow, no matter how many finite amount of lanes are provided. But you can fit more people in mass transit system.

Uhhh, what do gangs have to do with traffic? But yeah traffic is horrible, a better public transit system would be nice

News for those who wax with affection towards New York city ranking lower than LA in particular the one item noting how there are no freeways on Manhattan Island.

Commuters DO NOT use Manhattan Island as a 'bridge' to either NJ or Brooklyn/Queens i.e. the destination for all approaching NYC is the same Manhattan itself. As such the congestion ends in the city and does not go through it.

I so wish all the 'easterners' 'southerners' 'northerners' would leave Los Angeles. Go to any game played here against out-of-state franchises (esp. NYC or Boston) and you won't see Los Angeles - what you'll see is a bunch of obnoxious white bread males who foolishly bought their seats from season ticket holders.

What the preceding has to do with the article well next time you have the misfortune of having to attend a game 'back 'dere' try their vaunted 'mass transit' esp. in the nightey night night time.

LA is also just behind Mexico city as being a dump.

Some parts of Mexico city and LA look exactly alike.

L.A. needs better measures of public transportation. Unfortunately, L.A. was never designed to accommodate or consider the possibility of going green. We will continue to drive our cars, text & talk on the phone while sitting next to tons of people, and buy an incredible amount of materialistic things we don't need. But who cares, because it makes us happy.

L.A. needs better measures of public transportation. Unfortunately, L.A. was never designed to accommodate or consider the possibility of going green. We will continue to drive our cars, text & talk on the phone while sitting next to tons of people, and buy an incredible amount of materialistic things we don't need. But who cares, because it makes us happy.

Has anyone traveled to Istanbul? I don't know if it was a part of the 19 cities surveyed but traffic there is def. worse than here in LA.

"The index considered commuting time and time stuck in traffic." I think it's not so much that NYC traffic is better than LA (in fact, I highly doubt that), but that they have a much more comprehensive public transit system that considerably alleviates "commuter pain."

People: I used to live in a metro area 1/10th the size of LA and the traffic was just as bad. It's like this in any major city. The perception that bad traffic is an LA only phenom is a tired myth. Remember too that here we drive on dry roads in decent weather 90% of the time, which was far from the truth where I used to live.

Also the public transportation system is not that bad, actually it's quite good. I use it a lot (again waiting for the bus or train in nice conditions is an advantage). My aggravation with LA is far more with lack of parking than with driving itself, so I drive less because I don't want to have to worry about where I'm going to park.

The big issue here is it seems like it's almost a game for people to see who can outdo the other as far as how far they live from work. Why would you live 20-30 miles from work in a city this large with this much traffic? Anything over 10 is really pushing it.

This is a great place to live and there are far worse places to be. Any more than a few days or a week away and all I want to do is get home!

Public transport is progressing albeit at a snail's pace. However such public transport is in such a state of flux, there are signs of life, namely the subway to the sea and what-not. Problems exists, namely the blue lines' safety, inside in the cars as well as its track-record with pedestrians outside. It does seem rather an uncomfortable ride from either to union station from long beach or fro, vice-versa. The blue line DOES discourage ridership in that sense, that feel unsafe, period. Riding the BART up north, I had never felt thusly uncomfortable , for instance. Emphasizing a West Hollywood and SFValley train station would help alleviate such traffic issues as stated in this piece. Would this happen soon? No, as the subway to the sea seems to be fixated on a westward route towards Santa Monica, which I agree with, but not necessarily a West Hollywood connection that had previously been imagined, (unless I am glaringly mistaken?), which I think would benefit those in the county as well as the tourists that come and pay good dollars from around the world.

@tehachpian It's a scientific fact: long commutes from suburban hell to the city cause that sort of verbal diarrhea.

Are you kidding me? It could be worse because Moscow or New Delhi ranked worse? What about comparing with many cities were cars are not really necessary to move around because you have good, on time, public transport with train, tram, metro, bus and even bikes?

I don't even have a driving license...

This study only looked at automobile commutes. Both Beijing and Mexico City have robust subway and bus systemsm unlike Los Angeles.

It would be foolish to drive there and the results prove it, but in L.A. you don't have a much of a choice do you?

I have lived in Orange County, Washington DC area, Seoul Korea, and now Mexico City. I can agree completely with this article. Stop lights are only a suggestion here. Three marked lanes turns into 5 lanes of cars all pushing their way through traffic. No one thinks of others only themselves. Minor fender benders are always fun (no one can move their cars out of the way. They leave the cars until an insurance claims adjuster comes by). Finally if that doesn't make your commute horrible, add marching demonstrations that screw all traffic up. I live 9.5 miles from work and it takes 45 minutes to two hours at times.

LA is not a bad place to drive in. Anyone who disagrees should one day have the experience of driving in an old world city such as Naples, Rome or London as I have. The difference is simply that in the old world the buildings were in place before the roads and cars. In the new world the reverse occurred. Any idea about retreating into a bucolic past of bicycles and public transport will have to take this into consideration. The freeways are here to stay barring significant action along the San Andreas fault.


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