On LA freeways, there are good days. No, really

Morning rush-hour speeds vary by day of the week

Mondays are a drag, except on Los Angeles freeways. 


Monday morning has some of the fastest commutes of any weekday.


We analyzed daily speed data from 18 segments of Los Angeles freeways to find the weekday with the fastest morning rush-hour speed. 


Monday is tied for first place: In nine out of 18 freeway segments, it had the fastest speeds during the 7-9 a.m. rush-hour slot.


The other winner is Friday. In nine out of 18 segments, it also had the fastest morning commute.


The slowest? No contest. It’s Thursday.


In 11 out of the 18 freeway segments, Thursday was the slowest weekday. 



See our ranking of the best and worst evening commutes


The gap from the fastest to the slowest morning can be the difference between making it to work on time or getting that eye roll from your boss. Heading west on the 10 toward Downtown, the average Friday morning speed is 54 mph. On Thursday, that slows to 45 mph, a 16% difference.


Why the discrepancy? It might have something to do with the changing workweek.


Peter Jones, a spokesperson from CalTrans, said the faster Monday and Friday commutes can be explained in part by the compressed workweek schedule. More companies are allowing their employees to work four days a week in the office instead of five, and often, the days employees take off are either Mondays or Fridays. That can make “Thursday more like a Friday,” Jones said.


The compressed workweek can take significant amounts of people off the road. In Diamond Bar, for example, the regional office of the South Coast Air Quality Management District employs about 765 people. But the office is closed Mondays, and everyone works a longer day Tuesday through Friday.


With fewer people going in to work, the beginnings and ends of the week feel lighter for Andrew Boyles, who drives from Downtown to his job in Burbank via the 101.


“I feel like midweek is worse for some reason,” Boyles said. “But morning traffic always finds a new way to frustrate me.”


How we did it: We divided freeways into 18 different morning commutes across Los Angeles County. Then, we analyzed the average speeds on those freeway segments between February and June 2018 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 (7-9 a.m.).


Learn more about how Crosstown compiles its traffic data.


Questions about a specific freeway or commute?


Email us at askus@xtown.la.