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March 6, 2014 10:30 AM, EST
Traffic Congestion Grows 6% in 2013

Highway traffic congestion in the United States grew 6% in 2013 compared with the previous year, more than three times the rate of inflation, according to traffic tracking firm Inrix Inc.

The rate compared with the gross domestic product increase of 1.9% last year, Inrix said. Europe saw a similar increase in traffic congestion.

“While bad news for drivers, the gains we’ve seen in the U.S. and Europe in 2013 are cause for optimism about the direction of the economy,” Inrix CEO Bryan Mistele said in a March 5 statement. “If we’re to avoid traffic congestion becoming a further drain on our economies, we must invest in intelligent transportation systems and connected car technologies now.”

Los Angeles saw the worst traffic congestion in 2013, Inrix said. The average driver there wasted 64 hours in traffic throughout the year, an 8.5% increase over 2012.

Honolulu; San Francisco; Austin, Texas; and New York City rounded out the top five most congested metropolitan areas, and all saw large increases in 2013.

Inrix’s data found that cities with large growth in economic activity saw the most significant congestion increases.