Traffic ‘hotspot’ on I-90 among the worst in the U.S., study finds

CHICAGO -- A new study examining congestion in the U.S. ranks Chicago as the sixth worst in the nation, and singles out a stretch of westbound I-90 as the fifth worst traffic "hotspot" in the country.

According to Seattle-based traffic data firm Inrix, the average traffic jam on westbound I-90 between Harlem Ave. and 47th St. lasted 79 minutes and covered 8.55 miles. There were 238 traffic jams on that stretch of I-90 in March and April 2017 alone, when the study was conducted. The only cities with traffic hotspots worse than that are Los Angeles (which has three in the top five) and Washington, D.C.

The second worst hotspot in Chicago, according to the study,  is on eastbound I-90 between I-294 to Ohio. It's not all bad news for Chicago drivers though, as the study points out that a widening project on the Jane Addams nearby the hotspot on westbound I-90 should decrease commute times in the area.

While Chicago had one high-ranking hotspot, it came in at sixth overall. New York had the most total hotspots, and the overall impact of congestion estimated by the study was highest for Los Angeles. The estimated cost for Chicago in lost time, wasted fuel and carbon emitted could be $28.2 billion over the next decade.

Released Wednesday, Inrix's study analyzed over 100,000 hotspots in the nation's 25 most traffic-congested cities. According to the study, the 10 cities with the worst traffic in the U.S. are:

  1. Los Angeles, CA
  2. New York, NY
  3. Washington, D.C.
  4. Atlanta, GA
  5. Dallas, TX
  6. Chicago, IL
  7. San Francisco, CA
  8. Houston, TX
  9. Miami, FL
  10. Boston, MA