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Analysis pegs Atlanta as one of country’s, um, most driver-friendly cities

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A top 20 slotting sounds surprising—but is it?

Traffic streams out of downtown Atlanta a night on a winding highway.
Perpetually busy John Lewis Freedom Parkway, at night.
Jonathan Phillips, Curbed Atlanta

Atlanta is famous (or infamous) for its traffic—and for being designed in a way that’s meant to accommodate vehicles, a strategy that weekend congestion would suggest needs revising.

Given the hassles that often accompany getting around by vehicle, it could seem ironic that Atlanta has been ranked among the most friendly cities for drivers in the country, on par with significantly smaller metros such as Jacksonville and Austin.

Then again, wasn’t that the intent with car-crazed Atlanta all along?

Analysts with personal finance website WalletHub weighed 30 indicators of “driver-friendliness” for the country’s 100 largest cities, and they found Atlanta—where traffic issues are said to be the fourth most dismal in the land—as the 15th best place to be a driver.

Source: WalletHub

The data for a report titled “2019’s Best & Worst Cities to Drive in” went beyond the mess of sheer congestion, although annual hours wasted in traffic were factored in.

Also considered: auto-friendly infrastructure; average gas prices; cost of ownership and maintenance; prevalence of auto repair shops; driver-friendly weather; gas stations per capita; rate of car thefts; and safety, among other indicators.

Atlanta was a clunker when it comes to safety (88 of 100) but shined in categories of access to maintenance (8) and cost of ownership (10).

On a national scale, per the study, we’re no Raleigh—but no Detroit, either.

A graphic listing the best and worst cities for driving in the U.S. WalletHub