Study: Columbus has Ohio's worst traffic

A national study says Columbus has the worst traffic in Ohio.
Associated Press
Feb 7, 2013


The annual Urban Mobility Report by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute calculated that the typical Columbus-area rush-hour commuter spends 40 hours a year in backed-up traffic. That's tops in the state.

The Columbus Dispatch ( ) reports the time in traffic is two hours above the national average. And it puts Columbus 25th among 101 U.S. urban areas.

The study found that a typical 20-minute trip takes about 23.5 minutes during morning and evening rush hours in the state capital.

The nation's worst commute is in the Washington, D.C. area. The easiest is in Stockton, Calif.




Remember, CoLumbus is now the largest city in Ohio..

Football Fan 44089

Columbus has been the largest city since about 1990. Cuyahoga County is still larger than Franklin County but not by much: 1,270,294 vs. 1,178,799; a difference of 91,495 according to 2011 Census estimate.

Phil Packer

I would have to believe that Sandusky is worse in the summer, per capita.


You need to get out more...

Eph 2 8-10

You don't know what real traffic is....sorry, no offence.

Football Fan 44089

That comment reminds of sometime in the late 1990s or early 2000s when ODOT decided to do major work on the Thomas Edison bridge in the summer. In an editorial, The Plain Dealer quoted an ODOT official as saying they didn't realize how much traffic was in that area during the summer. In its editorial the PD asked the obvious question: "What state are these guys living in?"


Cleveland is a city of roughly 80 square miles while Columbus is just over 200 square miles in size. Back when the highway system was built, the infrastructure for Cleveland was designed to accommodate a population of over a million people. That same infrastructure exists today for a population of under half of that. This explains the lower traffic congestion in Cleveland compared to that of Columbus or Cincinnati. Large road system + Lower population = Less congestion. It doesn't take a federal analysis to make this determination. Although Cuyahoga County is still the most populated county in Ohio, even after the mass exodus of population from Cleveland. Perhaps Cleveland should annex surrounding suburbs as they have been doing in Columbus since the 1950's. This questionable action in our state capitol has increased the population tax-base and has stimulated economic growth to the city center, something Cleveland desperately needs.


I recall yrs. ago when Columbus discussed the building of an "outer" outer belt in order to relieve congestion on the outer belt.

It was estimated that the "outer" outer belt would have a circumference of over 300 mis.

I drove for yrs. in Chicago. Columbus is a "piece of cake."

How about even/odd days for driving? :)

2cents's picture

Dan Ryan in the snow :(


Cleveland and Chicago also have the alternative of train service that Columbus doesn't have.

Football Fan 44089

I think in the 1950 Census, Cleveland's population was roughly 950,000. On June 29, 1956, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a bill into law creating the Interstate Highway System and in every decade since then, Cleveland's population starting declining as they highways were getting built. According to a 2011 estimate, their population is 393,806.

2cents's picture

Having driven through Columbus a few times in the past year the construction in the summer was busy, road closures, new roads being built. It was busy!


I agree. I've gotten stuck in traffic many times this past year in Columbus. And its hardly the same as not being able to take a right on red in Sandusky because of CP traffic!


Columbus is about the only major city in Ohio that is still growing.


Always said that Columbus was like OH's drain for tax dollars.

Kind of a one party town too - Repub.

They didn't even want their casino. IMO, shoulda gave it to Sandusky.


Columbus by far has the worst traffic. They have the worst set up as far as oncoming and off going vehicles having to stop and go to merge, confusing and frustrating everyone. There are accidents everyday at the same locations. Oh, and not to mention that salt is not an option during the winter as mostly liquid bryne is what is used.


tank, have you ever driven in or around Cinci during rush hour......its a freaking zoo. Makes Cbus look like child's play.


I'll give it to Cinci, the hills and winding roads aren't something I'd like to deal with. Columbus just is one big circle thats a pain to get around if there's one problem spot.


Ill agree and if there is an accident on 270 or 71, cbus turns into a nightmare, but dang, after driving many times in both cities, Id rather take Cbus. Now Chicago.....that a whole different cat. Ive sat in normal traffic and moved 2 miles in 45 minutes.


It's good to spend a little "quality time" with your radio. :)

2cents's picture

Yea! Ran into one of those slowdowns from a accident heading north on 71 at the edge of town as well.

The craziest thing I ever saw was a small airplane land on the other side of the median while heading north on the bypass around Indianapolis.


I live in Columbus. I can attest that the traffic is terrible down here.
I grew up and use to live in NW Ohio for the first 35 yrs of my life. I believe the reason that it is so bad down here is the college population and the immigrant population. You have to remember that Columbus has one of the largest Somali populations in the country. They do not know how to drive in the snow or the rain. This town shuts down when we get 2" of snow! It took me 45 mins this week to drive 15 mi when it snowed. Traffic on SR 315 crept at 10 mile/hr. It rains and it goes 10-20 mi/hr. The people down here would be paralyzed if it snowed like it does around the lake. The roads can handle the traffic. All it takes is 2 cars in 2 lanes going slow to completely screw up a rush hour drive. The people down here need to go back and retake drivers ed classes.


They also have the best economy do to the tax dollars.