How Bad is Austin Traffic – Truth Revealed!

For newcomers in Austin, the first thing they notice is the heavy traffic. Austin has one of the worst traffics in the United States. According to the 2012-2013 INRIX Traffic Scorecard Annual Report, Austin ranks fourth in the list of the top ten worst cities in America for Traffic congestion.

How Much Time at Average Will You Waste in Traffic?

Motorists waste as much as 38 hours in traffic each year, which is equal to the amount of time you spend on a week’s vacation. The morning rush makes the traffic even worse, extending the average time for an hour trip by about 34 minutes.

The worst-hit areas include areas that are

  • MoPac or I-35 close to downtown
  • Southwest near MoPac
  • Hwy. 290
  • I-35 south of Hwy. 290
  • Northwest on Hwy. 183.

The Toll Roads  

The Hwy. 45 toll road is an alternative road, which is also less congested. However, using the toll road means you will be paying for using a longer route to your destination. Hwy. 45 adds about 15 miles to your trip. The toll roads are not the best option if you are in a race against time. 

The Local Roads Are Not The Best Options

Many people wrongly believe that you can save time by avoiding the highway and taking the local roads. However, they come face to face with one major obstacle, which is Lady Bird Lake. Most people end up spending more time in traffic using the local roads. In 2012:

  • People who used the local roads spent 24% time in traffic
  • People who use the highway spent about 17% time in traffic

Why is Austin Traffic So Bad?

The majority of the people blame the problem on the city planners. According to reports from NPR, city planners did not make adequate plans to accommodate population growth. In the past decade, Austin has seen a massive rise in population. Thanks to its attractive scenery and musical culture, which is part of the main reasons people migrate to Austin yearly. Talk about the booming culture. Between 2007-2017, Austin had a record of 6.1% in economic growth

In most places where you see big traffics, it is an indication of big money and business. Over 110 music-loving tech-entrepreneurs move to Austin daily to establish a new business. The number is not showing any signs of dropping, which means that Austin will see more people in the future.

According to CBS Austin, by 2045, there will be massive growth in the number of people living in the area. There is an estimate of about 4.8 to 5 million people in Austin. Travel speed in Austin will also drop to about 11 miles per hour due to traffic.

A solution to Traffic Congestion in Austin 

 The best solution t avoiding traffic is to live close to your working place if possible. Ask your employer if it is possible to work from home. It is best to avoid the traffic, especially in the summer with the intense heat of over 100 degrees in the summer. 


The population of Austin continues to grow as more people continue to move to the town. Austin has also seen a lot of failed attempts at improving the traffic situation. While the problem persists, avoiding the rush hours if possible remains your best option.


CBS Austin, Project Gridlock: How Did Austin Traffic Get So Bad?:

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