Southern California Traffic -- Its a Fact of Life, Work with it

Traffic Map in Los AngelesThe whole country knows it, Los Angeles has bad traffic. The funny thing about traffic is, everyone thinks they have it worse. I grew up in Charlotte, NC, the 33rd largest MSA in the US, so not a huge city, but also not a small town. I remember everyone always complaining about how bad the traffic was. “It’s like the worst in the nation!” people would exclaim. Then I moved to Atlanta, GA, the 9th largest MSA and a city notorious for bad traffic. Atlantans are convinced they have the worst traffic too. Let me tell you, no where else in the US comes close to the traffic in LA…not….even….close!

Time is money. Commutes cost you money. If the average commute is 20 miles and the average speed with no traffic is 60 miles per hour, the average commute should take 20 minutes. That’s 40 minutes per day, or 200 minutes per week (3.33 hrs/week). Now let’s say traffic slows you down to an average speed of 20 miles per hour (you Los Angelenos know 20 miles per hour is blazing fast during rush hour). Your 20 minute commute now takes 60 minutes; that equates to 120 minutes per day or 600 minutes per week (10 hrs/week).

Traffic causes gas mileage to go down, so with the rising cost of gas, lower gas mileage really adds up. Let’s say you have an average car that gets 25 miles per gallon on a 16 gallon tank. You should be getting 400 miles to the tank, which means you can cover your 20 mile average commute for 2 full weeks. At $4.50 per gallon, it costs you $72 to drive to and from work every two weeks. Unfortunately, sitting in traffic can cause your mileage per gallon to decrease by as much as 50%. So if you now only get 12.5 miles per gallon you will only get 200 miles per tank. This also means it will cost you $144 to drive to and from work every two weeks!

If you can save $70/week that adds up to more than almost $300 per month. With these gas savings, you could perhaps afford to live closer to work. Then you can save yourself that 10 hours per week and put to something more worthwhile than sitting in traffic.

Business Insider recently ranked the top 10 most congested corridors of traffic in the US. Of the top 10, 9 were in California (the other was in New York, NY) and 7 were in the LA area. 7 of the 10 most congested traffic corridors in the US are in LA.

Here are the 7 most congested roads in the LA area:

#10 – I-110 South between I-10 and I-105
#7 – I-10 West between Downtown and Santa Monica
#6 – I-10 East between Santa Monica and Downtown
#5 – I-605 South between I-5 and CA-60
#3 – I-405 North between I-10 and US-101
#2 – I-110 North between I-105 and I-10
#1 – I-110 North between I-10 and Downtown

If you know where you’re going to work for the next 5-7 years and are looking to buy a home in the Los Angeles area, try testing the commute for a week before you buy the home to see if you can tolerate the drive day to day. If not, buy somewhere closer to work! Talk to one of our expert real estate brokers at 1-800-287-1808 about finding a neighborhood that’s right for you and your family.

Sources: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Table_of_United_States_Metropolitan_Statistical_Areas
http://www.businessinsider.com/most-congested-roads-america-2011-10#1-los-angeles–harbor-fwyca-110-nb-10
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