LA’s worst morning commutes
If you commute to work on the I-405, morning becomes apoplectic.
Indeed, the 405 holds the title of busiest freeway in the country, an honor it just can’t seem to shake.
Traffic heading north from Gardena toward the intersection with the I-10 moves at just 24.8 mph on average, more slowly than any stretch of freeway in Los Angeles County during the 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. slot. Anyone who struggles with that morning commute might think it couldn’t get any worse. Only, it already has. In 2017, the average speed on that section of the 405 from 7 a.m to 9 a.m. was 29.2 mph.
We examined the average speeds on 26 different morning freeway segments between Feb. 1 and March 25, 2019, and sorted them from slowest to fastest. A segment is defined as a section of a freeway that carries commuters toward a major destination, such as Downtown Los Angeles. For example, we divided the I-5 into one section that stretches from the San Fernando Valley to Downtown, and another section the moves south from Downtown toward Orange County.
The second slowest morning rush-hour commute is on the I-210, heading west from Azusa toward Pasadena at an average speed of 25.7 mph.
“That commute is so bad I don’t do it anymore,” said Jonathan Eveleth, who lives in Glendora and works in Glendale. Now he takes a combination of surface streets and alternate freeways. “It goes from four lanes to five, then back into four. All that does is create more bottlenecks.”
Third on the list of most-dreaded morning commutes is the 5, heading south from Santa Clarita toward Downtown at a comparatively brisk 35.2 mph.
On the whole, morning commutes are generally faster than the same route going the other way in the evening, in part because people tend to run more errands (and therefore drive more miles) after work. (See our ranking of the worst evening commutes here.)
The fastest ride in the morning are those heading out of the city. The I-10, traveling east from Downtown toward Claremont is smooth sailing, at 62.6 average mph. And that dreaded 210 commute in the morning? The one going the other direction moves just fine, at 60.5 mph.
|Rank||Freeway||Freeway section||Direction||2019 Speed (MPH)|
|1||405||from I-110 to I-10||North||24.8|
|2||210||from Pasadena to I-15||West||25.7|
|3||5||from Santa Clarita to I-10||North||35.4|
|4||110||from Pasadena to US-101||South||36.2|
|5||101||Topanga Cyn. Blvd. to I-5||South||36.9|
|7||5||from Santa Clarita to I-10||South||38.3|
|8||110||from I-105 to US-101||North||39.1|
|9||5||from I-605 to I-10||North||39.9|
|10||10||from Santa Monica to I-5||West||42.2|
|11||5||from I-10 the I-605||South||43.4|
|13||405||from SR-118 to I-10||South||45.7|
|14||10||from I-5 to Pomona||West||48.4|
|15||101||I-5 to Topanga Cyn. Blvd.||North||48.6|
|16||110||Pasadena with 101||North||49.5|
|17||10||Santa Monica to I-5||East||50.1|
|19||405||from I-10 to I-110||South||56.6|
|20||405||from I-10 to SR-118||North||57.3|
|21||110||from US-101 to I-105||South||57.7|
|23||210||from I-5 to Pasadena||East||58.4|
|24||210||from Pasadena to I-5||West||59.9|
|25||210||from Pasadena to I-15||East||60.5|
|26||10||I-5 to Pomona||East||62.6|
How we did it: We divided freeways into 26 different evening commutes across Los Angeles County. Then, we analyzed the average speeds on those freeways segments between Feb. 1 and March 25, 2019, by hour of the day and then by day of the week. We then calculated the average speeds during the peak of the morning rush hour (7 a.m. – 9 a.m..).
Learn more about how Crosstown compiles its traffic data here.