LA’s worst morning commutes

Find out which are the worst a.m. freeway routes

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
6 105 entire freeway West 37.3
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
12 605 entire freeway South 44.2
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
18 605 entire freeway North 52.2
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
22 105 entire freeway East 58.3
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.