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Seattle ranks as 23rd worst traffic among 1,000 cities in world

SEATTLE — Tired of traffic?

A new study is giving us a better idea about just how long you spend sitting in backups each year.  The study was done by Inrix, a Kirkland-based traffic analysis company.

In 2016, people in this area spent 55 hours stuck in traffic — that’s while driving during peak traffic hours.

Inrix says that adds up to more than $1,500 in direct and indirect costs, factoring in things like the price of fuel and the amount of time wasted.

So how does Seattle compare to more than 1,000  other cities around the world?

The study says Seattle ranks 23rd.

That's looking at drivers who experienced the most hours sitting in traffic during peak commuting.

Drivers in Los Angeles spent the most time in traffic during peak commuting periods, totaling more than 104 hours last year.

Seattle actually ranked 10th among just U.S. cities, but Inrix says when it came to highways Seattle is actually the third worst when it comes to congestion.

If you want to look at the positive, congestion means the economy is booming.

But most of us are not thinking economics -- we are just frustrated while parked on I-5.

“It seems to be jammed up all day long,” driver Melinda Booker said.

Q13 News traffic expert Adam Gehrke listed some of the worst highway commutes. He says I-5 in Tacoma is topping the list with the most growth in gridlock in the past five years.

“It’s between Fife and JBLM,” Gehrke said.

Another terrible drive is I-405 south.

“Bothell and Bellevue, that whole corridor in the afternoon turns into a nightmare,” Gehrke said.

When it comes to city streets?

“First Avenue is seeing more action down in Sodo down to West Seattle bridge,” Gehrke said.

Madison Valley is also getting more congested, and good luck still trying to get out of the 'Mercer Mess' despite recent improvements.

“Seattle has crippled itself for decades,” Gehrke said.

WSDOT will spend nearly $10 billion in transportation improvements over the next 16 years.

It could bring some relief but without new infrastructure and transportation options Gerkhe says, traffic as we know it is here to stay.

“I have a vehicle, we used it once this month,” Bob Schultz said.

Schultz says public transportation is the answer; he uses it to get everywhere but many drivers we spoke with on Monday say it’s easier said than done.

“I get a lot of people who say they will but then they take the car anyway,” said one driver.

“Maybe someday I have to bite the bullet and try it,” driver Chaun Westrich said.

Gehrke pointed out the city of Seattle made a mistake decades ago when they stopped laying the groundwork for a train system.

“While they were digging up, putting new tracks on Broadway, I could see the railroad ties over where the old street car used to run in Capitol Hill. We had the answers, we had the solution 50, 60 years ago; we blew it.” Gehrke said.