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Los Angeles regains crown as most congested U.S. city

April 24, 2013 at 2:22 PM

KIRKLAND, Wash., April 24 (UPI) -- Los Angeles has regained its spot at the top of the list of the most congested U.S. cities, a company providing traffic information said Wednesday.

INRIX released its annual report on traffic congestion in the United States and abroad. The group said that drivers in Los Angeles averaged 59 hours sitting in traffic in 2012, compared to 50 hours in Honolulu, which topped the list for the previous two years.

The two leaders were followed by San Francisco, Austin, Texas, New York, Bridgeport, Conn., San Jose, Calif., Seattle, Washington and Boston, where drivers averaged only 31 hours sitting in traffic jams.

On the plus side, INRIX said congestion is generally a sign of a growing economy, with Los Angeles's crowded freeways the result of thousands of new jobs.

"While bad news for drivers, the gains we've seen in the U.S. and a few countries in Europe in 2013 are cause for some optimism about the direction of the economy," said Bryan Mistele, INRIX's president and chief executive officer.

In Europe, Luxembourg, a country little affected by the debt crisis, posted a 29 percent increase in hours lost to traffic congestion in 2012. Italy, Portugal and Spain, three hard-hit countries, saw those hours decline by 34 percent, 50 percent and 38 percent.

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