Stuck Behind the Wheel

New report says Austin traffic is improving, but don't hold your breath

Report says Austin traffic is improving, but don't hold your breath

Austin traffic highway I-35 congestion
Congestion in Austin has improved. Slightly. Courtesy photo

Can it be? Austin's traffic situation may have improved. Slightly. According to the TomTom Traffic Index, Austin is the No. 21 worst city in the U.S. for roadway congestion, down eight spots from last year's ranking.

The GPS company compared commute times during peak and non-peak travel periods in 2015, and based on its findings, Austin experienced a 22 percent increase in travel time during peak periods. That's 3 percent less than the year before.

Congestion may have thinned out slightly, but it doesn't mean we're out of the woods. On average, Austinites spend 30 minutes per day stuck in traffic, which adds up to a whopping 115 hours a year. In 2014, we only spent 21 minutes per day, or 80 hours per year, stuck in traffic.

TomTom says rush hour — 5 to 6 pm — on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday evenings results in a 60 percent increase in commute. So if you want to spend less of your precious free time behind the wheel, consider putting in extra hours at the office. Or, better yet, sneak out early.