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Las Vegas 19th in traffic congestion in U.S., GPS firm says

Here’s a report to contemplate when you’re stuck in traffic.

Las Vegas has the 19th worst traffic congestion in the United States among 53 metropolitan areas, a GPS navigation technology company says.

The TomTom Traffic Index, released Wednesday, also said Las Vegas’ worst traffic congestion occurs Thursday evenings.

An index created by the Dutch mobile navigation and mapping company said that of Southern Nevada’s network of 137 miles of highways and 14,283 miles of non-highway surface streets, Las Vegas has a 21 percent congestion level, which means motorists spend 21 percent more time on the road than they would in a free-flow environment.

The study said the average Las Vegas motorist experiences an 18-minute delay in peak periods. That translates to being stuck in traffic 53 hours a year for those having a 30-minute commute.

The study, the company’s fourth since 2011, compared traffic in 186 cities across six continents.

In the United States, the top five congested cities are Los Angeles, San Francisco, Honolulu, Seattle and San Jose, Calif.

Las Vegas ranked 28th among cities in North and South America. The five worst cities on that list are Rio de Janeiro; Mexico City; Sao Paulo, Brazil; Los Angeles; and Vancouver, Canada.

The worst of Las Vegas’ congestion occurs on surface streets, which have a 24 percent congestion level compared with 9 percent on highways.

The study said Las Vegas congestion is getting worse, but in only four U.S. cities — Honolulu, New Orleans, Pittsburgh and Louisville, Ky. — were congestion levels lower in 2013 than the year prior.

Other Las Vegas highlights from the report:

* The congestion index for the Thursday evening commute — one hour a day when roads are handling the most traffic — is close to 39 percent, barely edging Friday evening as the week’s worst. The study said Thursday evening commutes are the worst nationwide.

* The Monday evening commute is the easiest of five weekdays, with a congestion index of around 31 percent.

* The worst morning peak periods occur Wednesdays in Las Vegas. The easiest morning commutes are on Mondays.

* Las Vegas traffic congestion is on par with Boston; Houston; Atlanta; San Diego; Tucson; Orlando; and Austin, Texas.

* In the West, Las Vegas’ traffic congestion is worse than Denver (No. 32 among 64 cities in North and South America), Riverside, Calif. (No. 34), Salt Lake City (48) and Phoenix (55).

* Cities with the lowest congestion index in the United States are Kansas City, Mo., and Indianapolis.

* Las Vegas saw its worst congestion of 2013 on Thursday, Nov. 21. That was the day Las Vegas received nearly a half-inch of precipitation at McCarran International Airport, the biggest rainfall total of the year.

Contact reporter Richard N. Velotta at rvelotta@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. Follow him on Twitter @RickVelotta.

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