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Analysis: Atlanta commuters spend 484 days of their lifetime in traffic

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The new study’s biggest surprise, however, is that Atlantans have merely the 26th worst commutes among U.S. cities

Traffic on the Downtown Connector
Evening rarely brings relief to Atlanta commuters’ woes.

Talk to anyone driving in town for work, and spending time stuck in traffic eventually will come up. After all, it’s no secret Atlanta traffic is a nightmare.

That conversation generally revolves around how long commuters sit in traffic, which can be up to a few hours roundtrip each day.

In fact, according to a new study from, U.S. workers spend more than 52 minutes each day driving to and from work; that’s equal to 408 days of sitting in traffic, across a lifetime. And that doesn’t sound too productive.

For those who think 52 minutes wouldn’t be much for Atlanta, you’d be right. Per the study, Atlanta commuters will spend about 76 more days of their life stuck in traffic than the average U.S. worker.

That’s right: Atlanta drivers lose approximately 484 days in their lifetime to rush hour(s).

But even that’s not the most surprising result of this new study. It states metro Atlanta has merely the 26th worst commute times of nearly 1,000 cities studied in the United States. (Not too shabby for a region that another study pegged as being the fourth most congested in the country—and eighth worst on the entire planet.)

Perhaps that’s because, in addition to big cities like Los Angeles, Houston, and Washington, D.C., the study also ranked smaller cities like Picauyne, Miss., Elko, Nev., and Newport, Tenn., ahead of Atlanta, most likely because they’re driving farther to reach neighboring metropolitan areas.

What the study doesn’t specify, though, is exactly where these Atlanta commuters are coming from and how far they’re driving. (We’ve asked for clarification and will update this post with any response).

Given the ever-increasing amount of cars on Atlanta’s surface streets, are these commuters intown or are most from OTP? Does it count if they’re going between suburban cities and submarket regions like the Perimeter? Inquiring minds want to know.