Ranking The Best And The Worst Cities For Commuters


Americans drive a lot. In fact, we drive 2.9 trillion miles a year on average. To put this astronomical number into perspective, that’s equal to over 320 round trips to Pluto!

While the way we commute has changed drastically over the years, one thing rings true: the frustration is real when it comes to urban commuting. Typically along the lines of a real life lucid nightmare, commutes in heavily populated areas can be flat-out awful. If you live in a populated city and brave the 9-5 weekday traffic, many kudos to you!

Out of the 100 most populated cities in America, stress and road rage run rampant. Road construction, freeway congestion, and overall driver stupidity make their debuts basically everywhere. These stressors are present even my home city of Boise, Idaho (yes it’s one of the most populated cities, big surprise, I know).

The following graph identifies the safest and most dangerous cities to commute in:

Click here for an interactive version of the graph.

The 10 Best Cities To Commute In:

  1. Lubbock, TX
  2. Corpus Christi, TX
  3. Lincoln, NE
  4. Greensboro, NC
  5. Tucson, AZ
  6. Reno, NV
  7. Durham, NC
  8. Colorado Springs, CO
  9. Winston-Salem, NC
  10. Raleigh, NC

The 10 Worst Cities To Commute In:

  1. New York, NY
  2. Washington, DC
  3. Philadelphia, PA
  4. San Francisco, CA
  5. Detroit, MI
  6. Newark, NJ
  7. Boston, MA
  8. Chicago, IL
  9. Baltimore, MD
  10. Los Angeles, CA

But what exactly makes the conditions of a city terrible or ideal? (Special thanks to WalletHub for their extensive research on this issue!) A group of their top researchers compiled the data that is represented in the graph above. This is what they’ve deemed as crucially important:

Cost for Drivers

Americans are literally addicted to fuel. We use it everywhere, all the time. We transport ourselves, the products we consume, and practically everything else imaginable. Gasoline may be a huge expense, but also factor in high insurance costs, licensing fees, registration, and emissions testing. Some cities are just too expensive to drive in!

(Also related: Average price of gas by state)

Traffic/Road Conditions

Not all roadways are created equal. Minimal state budgets and an overall lack of maintenance are often to blame. Bad roads equate to added costs to drivers. Americans wreck tires and suspension like they’re going out of style due to these insufficient roads. Other variables for road conditions include average traffic delays, quality of bridges, and the climate of the area.

Driver/Car Wellness

There is a link between personal pride in a vehicle and the rate in which accidents occur. Businesses such as car washes, the frequency of auto dealerships, and the quality of auto repair shops all affect the overall automobile wellness of an area. Another convenience to consider is the availability of parking, and the layout of parking/bike lane areas.


How likely are you to be involved in an auto accident? If you’re living in one of the 10 worst cities to commute in, it’s pretty likely. Wrecking your car is a fact of life that’s often times difficult to digest; a harsh reality. Another metric to consider is the severity rates related to DUI’s, which vary by state. Furthermore, if you live in an area with high auto theft rates, you and your car are obviously less safe.

Do you live in any of these 100 most populated cities? If so, do you agree or disagree with their current standings on the graph in this post?