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What the Beach Boys Didn’t Sing About: California Traffic


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You probably don’t want to spend any time on interstates in California, because if you do, you’ll probably find yourself spending far too much time on those roads.

That’s a finding from a study conducted by TomTom, the company that produces navigation systems. Using data from GPS systems, they were able to calculate the amount of congestion on interstates. The top-10 most congested, taking all but #5, #7, and #10 are in California.


The number-one is the I-5 south, where the length of congestion in miles is calculated to be 30.81 miles, and includes 20,360 cars. They calculated a “traffic jam” based on whether “driver could travel at only 70% or less of the posted speed limit,” which most people commuting on the I-5 in SoCal knows is the “or less” on a daily basis.

And while California only has one local, non-interstate road in the top 10 in that category, it, proudly (?) has the #1 spot: CA-1 from Malibu to Redondo Beach. The length of congestion there is 9.74 miles.

The people in the Washington, DC, area might take some exception to that because VA-7 from DC toward Leesburg, VA, according to the TomTom findings, have a 14.52 miles of congestion, yet that puts that route in second place.

The reason? On CA-1 there are 6,161 cars in a traffic jam, while on VA-7 there are 6,097.

A point of this exercise, by the way, was to estimate the amount of fuel wasted as a result of traffic congestion. In the case of the I-5 S, it is 4,072 gallons per day, and CA-1 burns 1,232 gallons.