The Absolute Worst City for Commuting in Every State (Is Yours on the List?)

From coast to coast, we've found the ultimate commuting nightmare in each state.

A woman stuck in traffic
Updated May 28, 2024
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Commuting home after a long day should be a time to unwind, not a prelude to further frustration. But for many Americans, rush hour gridlock adds another layer of stress to their daily grind.

Beyond the wasted time stuck in traffic, rising gas prices and car maintenance costs make it hard to get ahead financially. Is your city a commuting nightmare? Read on to see which states have it the worst.

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Hoover, Alabama

Goran Jakus/Adobe traffic jam of lined up cars

The average commute time in Hoover is just over 24 minutes. It doesn’t seem too bad in terms of length, but it doesn’t mean traffic is bearable.

For the 3.2% of workers in the area who spend more than an hour commuting, if your job allows you to keep more cash in your wallet than the average American, the extra time on the road might be worth it.

Anchorage, Alaska

disq/Adobe cars in traffic jam at highway

The commute in Anchorage is the worst in the state, but even as the city with the longest commute, it’s only 19.1 minutes on average.

The hard part here is the road conditions, as snow and ice can make it worse, and with a limited amount of roads leading into and out of each region, it’s easy to see how things can get backed up fast.

San Tan Valley, Arizona

ArenaCreative/Adobe cars in traffic on cloudy day

The third longest commute in the country goes to the San Tan Valley. The nearly 100,000 residents here spend an average of 40.6 minutes on their daily commute.

As a bedroom city, many who live here travel into Phoenix for their workday, which is reason enough to spend more time battling traffic.

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Conway, Arkansas

Aaron Kohr/Adobe cars in traffic on highway

In Arkansas, most drivers have a limited commute to work, with the longest commute time being in Conway at 23.8 minutes on average.

Being under 25 minutes doesn’t seem all that bad, especially for those commuting into Little Rock for work (a common trip).

The problem is that it’s boring, with very little to see along the roadsides, making it seem much longer.

Apple Valley, California

roza/Adobe rush hour in los angeles

Apple Valley is known for many things, including the beautiful San Bernardino Mountains. Believe it or not, this community is also known for having the longest commute time in California.

Some may say that trying to navigate Los Angeles traffic is far worse (and it probably is), but when considering the length of time people are on the road, Apple Valley comes in strong with a 42.6-minute average commute.

Thorton, Colorado

kichigin19/Adobe traffic jams in city

Many people commute from Thorton to Denver, which can become harrowing, especially during peak rush hours first thing in the morning and later in the afternoon.

The average commute in Thorton is 34.8 minutes, which is longer than the national average.

Many complain that there’s an extensive public transit system, but not many use it, and most people — over 80% by some data — drive their cars alone.

Danbury, Connecticut

edan/Adobe cars driving in traffic

If you are one of the many who commute from Danbury to New York City, you probably spend a few extra minutes on the road than others in Connecticut. The average commute in Danbury is 32.7 minutes.

Overall, traffic moves well, but there are certainly a lot of people traveling in the same direction at peak times of the day.

Wilmington, Delaware

Monstar Studio/Adobe annoyed man driving car in traffic

To others, the 21.7 average commute time in Wilmington doesn’t seem all that bad, but when you think about how small this state is, that’s a substantial amount of time.

The biggest challenges happen on Del 1 and I-95, especially when people are commuting into the Philadelphia area from Wilmington.

Poinciana, Florida

thongchainak/Adobe cars in traffic in evening

The longest commute in the country goes to Poinciana, Florida. Here, the average commute among residents is 43.5 minutes, meaning people spend 1.5 hours on the road each day.

The city is about 14 miles from Haines City to the southwest of Kissimmee. More than 53,000 people live here.

The good news is that it’s only about 53 miles from the beach, in case skipping a day at work is necessary.

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South Fulton, Georgia

Home-stock/Adobe Man frustrated in traffic

The worst commute in Georgia is a 32.7-minute average in South Fulton. What makes this city such a problem?

Many live in South Fulton and make the 19.5-mile commute into Atlanta. One of the core reasons for this increasing length of time is the development in and around the city.

The more people moving into these suburban areas, the more we see on the roads heading into Atlanta to play or work.

Honolulu, Hawaii

chat9780/Adobe cars stuck in a traffic jam

It’s hard to imagine any city in Hawaii having a horrible commute with those beaches and great weather, but the worst trip is in Honolulu.

The average commute time is 20.6 minutes, which is not bad. Like many other areas, the congestion happens during morning and late afternoon rush hours. The worst roadway is Ala Moana Blvd.

Nampa, Idaho

Vitaliy/Adobe Man sitting in traffic

Those commuting in Nampa have an average commute of 22.1 minutes.

That’s not too bad, but compared to the rest of the state with open roads and high-speed limits, slowing down for traffic here isn’t all that enjoyable.

Chicago, Illinois

ambrozinio/Adobe man driving car at night

A world-class city, there’s no surprise that the commute in Chicago is anything but enjoyable. It’s even been noted as the worst traffic in the country. Construction leads the way as the most frustrating aspect.

Drivers in Chicago also spend about 32.2 minutes per day stuck in traffic.

One study found that drivers in Chicago spend an extra $300 per year because of those long commute times.

Noblesville, Indiana

Kara/Adobe man on bicycle in traffic jam

Noblesville has long been hailed as a long and challenging commute at 28.3 minutes on average. It’s not just the length of time here, though.

The worst part is winter, which leads to accidents, which means sitting in traffic for an extra 30 minutes on your way home because someone didn’t see a patch of ice.

Davenport, Iowa

ambrozinio/Adobe driver waiting in traffic jam

Most other states would be happy with the 19.3-minute commute in Davenport, the longest average commute in the state.

Yet, locals would make note of the poor road conditions, whether due to an ice storm, flooding that covers the roadways, or just potholes. It’s sometimes a dangerous trip home here.

Kansas City, Kansas

starflamedia/Adobe cars in traffic during day time

As a big city, an average commute of 22.9 minutes doesn’t seem bad for Kansas City.

The worst problems here are around the rush hours, where I-69 and 635 become packed with cars for a couple of hours.

Yet, many people in this city don’t worry too much about traffic commutes as long backups don’t happen every day.

Lexington and Louisville, Kentucky

digitalstock/Adobe steady traffic on motorway

Both cities tie for having the worst commute in the state, and residents of both would quickly state their commute is worse, but at 20.8 minutes on average, neither is in the car for too long.

Those who are on the road longer than 21 minutes, though, say that timing is everything, with traffic around 4 to 5 p.m. typically the worst, tripling the time it takes to get home.

Kenner, Louisiana

KaYann/Adobe cars stuck in traffic jam

In Kenner, it takes 25.4 minutes to commute to work from home on average.

This New Orleans suburb takes the worst commute simply because most people commute into the city for work, school, or play.

Things get much worse, though, during Mardi Gras. You can easily spend a lot of time waiting here, especially since Kenner is also the home of the local airport.


Portland, Maine

annacovic/Adobe cars waiting in traffic in paris

In Portland, the worst commute is around 20.8 minutes on average. Those with a terrible commute here (longer than that) typically share that highway backups are the biggest slowdown.

Many travel from Portland to Waterville, and things slow down even more when snow happens.

Waldorf, Maryland

Marco2811/Adobe cars waiting at traffic signal

At 38.2 minutes on average, the people in Waldorf definitely have something to complain about when it comes to their commute.

With a lower cost of living than much of Washington, D.C., many prefer to live here and make the drive into town for work.

Congestion along Route 5 and 210 is commonly seen. Even on the weekends, Route 5 can back up as people commute into the area for some time away.

Malden, Massachusetts

Kadmy/Adobe traffic jam on street road

For those who work in Boston and live in Malden, a nearby suburb, the commute is a bear at an average of 33.6 minutes.

For a long time, construction hampered the city’s residents from traveling around quickly, but the city’s ongoing growth is also a factor.

Detroit, Michigan

kichigin19/Adobe traffic jams in the city

Detroit has seen a lot of change in recent years, but congestion on the roadways continues to hamper many commuters' good moods.

As the city with the worst commute in the state, at 25.5 minutes, there’s no doubt it’s not that bad.

Yet, when there are potholes to dodge, reckless drivers, lots of trucks on the roadways at rush hour, and you just want to get into Warren or Troy for your kid’s sports game, that commute seems to take forever.

Blaine, Minnesota

guteksk7/Adobe driver driving car in crowded city

Traveling to and from work in Blaine takes an average of 27.3 minutes.

Early evenings and weekday mornings are the worst time for rush hour traffic here, especially along Highway 65.

The worst problems happen when there’s a foot of snow falling or when everyone is rushing to the shopping centers for dinner on the weekend.

Gulfport, Mississippi

Вячеслав Думчев/Adobe Woman in traffic

Most people living in Gulfport commute pretty close to home, spending about 24 minutes in the car on average.

For those who are on the roadways the most, it’s really just rush hour that seems to hold them back. For others, public transportation and even walking to work are options.

Lee’s Summit, Missouri

Pix by Marti/Adobe cars in traffic jam on motorway

Lee’s Summit isn’t all that big of a city, but it is an affordable place to call home. That’s why many people commute from Lee’s Summit to Olathe, Lenexa, and Blue Springs.

That creates some commuting issues here. During rush hour, that 23.3 average commute time can double as people all scramble for their spot on the highway.

Billings, Montana

mario beauregard/Adobe cars in traffic at midnight

There’s not a whole lot to complain about in Billings. It’s the city with the longest commute in Montana, just around 17.1 minutes.

As the largest city in the state, with over 118,000 people, it’s easy to see that when everyone hits the road on their way back home from work, it’s going to back up.

Some say that the worst part of that long commute (in miles, not minutes) is the ever-increasing cost of gas, but on the upside, it’s certainly a nice view.

Omaha, Nebraska

Brian Jackson/Adobe cars on highway in traffic

With a reasonable cost of living, many people who work in Omaha live there, too. That’s why the longest commute in the state here is just 19.2 minutes on average.

Though some say the commute has gotten worse over time as the city and metro area have grown, ample roadways and fewer people help to keep most commutes relatively easy here. Bad weather tends to be the biggest problem.

Sunrise Manor, Nevada

Sundry Photography/Adobe cars in traffic at silicon valley

The affordability and diversity make Sunrise Manor a popular place to live and commute into Las Vegas. It also has the longest commute to doing so at 26.8 minutes on average.

Rush hour tends to be the problem for most, but the time of the year can also play a role due to congestion along the Las Vegas Strip.

Nashua, New Hampshire

disq/Adobe puppy in car waiting during traffic

Located in the state's southern portion, Nashua is mostly known for its family-centric lifestyle and natural beauty.

So you wouldn’t think you’d spend a lot of time commuting there, but it’s the city with the longest average commute at 23.4 minutes.

The worst traffic you’ll see happens on Friday evenings during the warmer months for those coming from Manchester to spend the weekend in the city.

Jersey City, New Jersey

digitalstock/Adobe cars waiting in traffic at highway

It’s a long, hot 34 minutes in the car for the average commute in Jersey City during the summer.

Some travel to New York City. The dense population tends to be the concern here, along with poor public transportation, which can double that commute time for many.

Rio Rancho, New Mexico

Image'in/Adobe trucks waiting in traffic jam

Those traveling from Rio Rancho into Albuquerque are likely to be spending about 30.4 minutes, on average, in the car.

The commute isn’t too bad in terms of congestion most of the time, though rush hours can be problematic. Some say it’s the bad drivers, while others say rush hour makes this drive extra long.

New York City, New York

BullRun/Adobe busy midtown district on Manhattan

There’s no surprise here when it comes to the worst commute in the state. New York City commuters typically spend 39.8 minutes on the road.

What’s extra interesting is that not everyone is going all that far. Just traveling across town or into the Bronx is likely to take a significant amount of time.

Congestion is a core concern throughout the city, and while many use public transportation, crime and safety risks keep many waiting in traffic to avoid the subway.

Concord, North Carolina

dusanpetkovic1/Adobe Man frustrated in car

Traveling from Concord to Charlotte is a bad commute, averaging 25.2 minutes. However, during rush hour, that can easily become 1.5 hours for some people.

Many people say that traffic hotspots are common here, but it’s rare for commutes to be intensely stressful.

Fargo, North Dakota

am13photo/Adobe cars in traffic during snow

The average commute in Fargo is the longest in the state at 17.7 minutes, but many people who live in the city bike or walk to work.

However, residents say that Fargo roadway conditions and bad drivers tend to be the bigger concern here.

Lorain, Ohio

290712/Adobe cars rows waiting in traffic

From Lorain to Cleveland, the worst commute in the state is around 24.2 minutes on average.

Although not crazy long, it can be stressful as drivers speed, and there’s always construction and orange barrels everywhere.

And, of course, no one wants to drive that long route along I-90 into the heart of Cleveland, either.

Edmond, Oklahoma

Yury Gubin/Adobe cars in traffic on sunny day

The 23.8-minute average commute from Edmond to Oklahoma City doesn’t seem too bad, and it’s not most of the time.

However, many people here struggle with the quality of drivers on the road, claiming everything from inexperience to road rage slows everyone down. Not to mention the impending accidents during rush hour.

Gresham, Oregon

Mak/Adobe traffic jam on hot summer evening

Gresham, a suburban city just outside of Portland, certainly has impressive views of the mountains and incredible outdoor amenities. It also has the longest commute in the state, at an average of 29 minutes.

The route is longer than most other areas in Oregon, mainly because the city wasn’t built for as many cars and people on the roads. During rush hour, it can take an hour or more to get home.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

thongchainak/Adobe cars waiting in traffic in city

If you have to commute in PA, chances are good your road trip is much longer in Philadelphia than anywhere else, with the average route taking 31.1 minutes.

Philly’s roadways are considered some of the most congested in the country even though many people commute at least weekly from Philadelphia to New York City, which further increases that commute.

Pawtucket, Rhode Island

Brian Jackson/Adobe traffic stuck on highway

It doesn’t seem like any place in Rhode Island would have a super long commute, but in Pawtucket, you’ll spend the most time on the road traveling from the city into Providence or Boston, both of which are common trips.

The average commute here is 24.5 minutes, though, for those traveling to Boston, it can seem much longer when navigating rush hour traffic.

The route isn’t all that interesting either, which can make that 12 to 15-mile trip pretty long, at least in the way it feels.

Rock Hill, South Carolina

Nomad_Soul/Adobe car ques stranded in traffic

The worst commute in South Carolina is from Rock Hill to Charlotte, which spans an average of 26.3 minutes.

The worst parts of the drive are down I-485 and along the Uptown exits during the morning commute. School traffic and people going to work can slow things down.

Sioux Falls, South Dakota

kichigin19/Adobe city with jam packed traffic

Here’s another city where the actual commute time of 16.7 minutes on average doesn’t seem all that long, but distances from one spot to the next can be much longer.

Many people work in the city, which helps bring that average commute time down. For others, rush hour tends to be the biggest thorn, but plan for a few extra minutes even then.

Clarksville, Tennessee

Kadmy/Adobe trucks and cars stuck in traffic

The 25.6-minute average commute for those in Clarksville can be frustrating, especially if it’s twice as long during rush hour.

The trick to getting around during rush hour when you need to head into Nashville is to avoid the interstate and take the county roads instead.

Atascocita, Texas

Aaron Kohr/Adobe suv waiting in traffic during day

If you live in Atascocita, you’re spending nearly 70 minutes a day commuting to work. It’s the Texan city with the longest average commute of 35.9 minutes.

What’s so bad here? This Houston suburb isn’t well planned, especially for those who need to commute into the city for work. While it’s an affordable place to live, it’s easily congested, and that slows everything down.

South Jordan, Utah

Kadmy/Adobe urban traffic jam in city

Just outside Salt Lake City, South Jordan wins the award for the worst commute in the state at 24.6 minutes on average.

This city of 80,000 residents doesn’t necessarily have a problem with a lot of traffic, but rather a long distance between cities, though I-15 during morning commutes can be challenging.

Burlington, Vermont

290712/Adobe traffic jam with row of cars

It takes 23.1 minutes on average to commute through and around Burlington. There are just a few routes into the city, including Shelburne Road, Main Street, and Colchester Avenue.

It’s overall not too bad unless it’s a Friday night in the summer when everyone is coming into town (fall isn’t much better) or during the afternoon commute home.

Dale City, Virginia

Dmitry Nikolaev/Adobe cars in traffic late at night

Dale City residents certainly have something to complain about with the average 35.9-minute commute. Residents here often commute the 25 miles or so into Washington, D.C., to work.

Although there is a rail system, commuters prefer to drive alone. That means a lot of congestion along the interstates coming into town during the morning and evening rush hours.

South Hill, Washington

New Africa/Adobe dashboard camera mounted in car

South Hill residents also have a pretty intense commute at 32.7 minutes on average one way.

This centrally located city is popular for those with young families and professionals working in the Pierce County area.

Instead of dealing with rush hour traffic on the way home, you may want to stop and wait it out while enjoying dinner or shopping. It can be much worse than 33 minutes during peak drive times.

Bluefield, West Virginia

Kara/Adobe suv waiting in traffic at sunset

Bluefield, a city of around 8,500 people, is noted for its low cost of living and slightly more remote lifestyle.

The 26.1 average commute isn’t horrible, but it’s also a long one to get into town.

The commute tends to be bad because of the distance to larger cities nearby. On the positive side, there’s a lot of green to look at along the way.

Appleton, Wisconsin

Kara/Adobe cars waiting in traffic in sun

People complain a lot about the Appleton area being troublesome due to poor roadway construction and weather that can dump a significant amount of snow quickly.

It’s the city with the longest commute in the state at 22.6 minutes on average. Some say the worst part is the bad drivers.

Cheyenne, Wyoming

refresh(PIX)/Adobe cars in jam packed city traffic

Many people who live in Cheyenne work there, but the city is still the one in the state with the longest commute at 18.7 minutes on average.

With a commute like that, Wyoming might be one of the best states for you if you want to lower your car costs.

And even though traffic here from Fort Collins can be frustrating during rush hour, it’s not numerous hours each day like in other states.

Bottom line

Flamingo Images/Adobe Friends driving in a car

If you're trying to avoid wasting money, be careful when deciding to relocate for work. It can quickly get expensive.

For some people, it’s all about working from home instead. That way, you don’t have to get in the car and pay high gas costs to get to and from work.

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Author Details

Sandy Baker

Sandy Baker is a has over 17 years of experience in the financial sector. Her experience includes website content, blogs, and social media. She’s worked with companies such as Realtor.com, Bankrate, TransUnion, Equifax, and Consumer Affairs.