CHICAGO (CBS) — New research says Chicago has fallen behind Washington, D.C., for having the worst traffic in the nation.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports, the 2011 Urban Mobility Report by the Texas Transportation Institute ranks the nation’s capital as having the worst traffic congestion, with an average yearly delay of 74 hours per auto commuter.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports

Chicago comes in second, at 71 hours per commuter. Last year, Chicago came in first.

But while traffic delays have eased slightly in Illinois and Indiana, the reason is not good news. The report says the economy is to blame.


The report also says an average Chicago area driver loses $1,568 in wasted time and fuel – a figure even worse than that for Washington, where the average loss is $1,495.

In total, Chicago area drivers lost more than 367 million hours and about 184 million gallons of fuel, for a total congestion cost of $8.2 billion, the report said.

The research says when the economy rebounds, congestion will only get worse.

The report suggests some solutions, including expanding public transit, adding lanes to the most congested roads, and upgrading traffic signals to help improve the flow.