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

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.

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.

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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.