Beltway traffic earns Baltimore No. 19 on most congested city ranking

The daily slog through traffic along the outer loop of the beltway earned the Baltimore area the ranking of 19th most congested metro area in America, according to a new study by INRIX, a global traffic consulting firm.

It will come as no surprise to Baltimore drivers but the company deemed the northwest stretch of the outer loop, between Baltimore National Pike in Catonsville and Providence Road in Towson, as the worst part. It was among 2,856 traffic hot spots identified nationwide by the Kirkland, Wash.-based company.

Washington, D.C., was ranked third in the top 25 most congested rankings, behind Los Angeles and New York. While New York had the most traffic hot spots, Los Angeles took the top spot due to the severity of the jams.

The worst D.C hotspot was — no surprise here either — Interstate 95 southbound in Northern Virginia at the exit to the Fairfax County Parkway.

The Baltimore region’s congestion could cost drivers a combined $8.1 billion in wasted time, lost fuel and carbon emissions over the next decade, INRIX said.

That cost was calculated using an “impact factor,” based on the duration, length and frequency of traffic jams on a given road.

“The Impact Factor score enabled INRIX Research to estimate the economic costs at the road level and provided a metric to analyze the health of the transportation network within each city or metro area,” INRIX said.

cmcampbell@baltsun.com

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