No one likes being stuck in traffic, especially on their morning and evening commutes. But traffic is a weekday reality for millions of Alabamians. However, some Yellowhammer State residents get a worse shake than others when it comes to sitting in highway gridlock day after day.
In most states, the cities with the largest population tend to have the most traffic, and Alabama is no exception.
Birmingham’s metropolitan area is home to around 1.15 million residents, as well as Interstates 65, 22, 59, 20, and 459. This combination of population and busy interstates means that Birmingham area residents spend nearly 40 hours per year in traffic, while the average one-way commute in the city takes around 22 minutes.
According to GPS manufacturer TomTom, Birmingham’s traffic was worse in 2020 in the evening than in the morning, with the Tuesday evening commute being the worst of all.
The state’s capital has nearly 200,000 people, with its metro area boasting around 375,000. It’s also the location of Maxwell Air Force Base and three large public universities: Alabama State University, Troy University (Montgomery Campus), and Auburn University at Montgomery.
INRIX’s 2020 global traffic scorecard found that Montgomery ranked 413th worldwide in traffic, with residents losing around 11 hours per year in congestion on average. In addition, traffic worsened in the city by 13% between 2019 and 2020.
Athens ranks 20th in population in Alabama, but it has the third-highest congestion rating in the state according to INRIX. Although population plays a major role in how much congestion residents experience while driving, it doesn’t always tell the entire story, as Athens’s residents can attest.
People who live here lose an average of 9 hours per year in traffic, and their city ranks 566th overall for worldwide traffic delays.
Like Birmingham, Mobile also sees Interstate 65 run through it, in addition to Interstates 10 and 165. Part of the gridlock in the city is related to it being located on the water and having many tourism-related activities and attractions, which means that traffic levels can soar during the spring, summer, and fall.
The average one-way commute in the city is just shy of Birmingham’s, clocking in at 21 minutes. In addition, the average resident loses around five hours sitting in traffic each year.
The city of Huntsville ranks third in population in Alabama, and it lags just behind Montgomery with around 196,000 residents. Although Huntsville is home to NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command, and the University of Alabama at Huntsville, the city has only one interstate—Interstate 565. Otherwise, the city is served by highways.
With Interstate 65 passing through nearby Athens and Decatur instead, Huntsville is spared from out-of-state traffic, which means residents spend only around three hours per year in congestion.
Roll Tide! Home of the University of Alabama, “T-Town” has around 100,000 permanent residents, a population that can easily more than double when the Crimson Tide are playing at home. The presence of the largest university in the state, with a student body of nearly 40,000, combined with SEC football Saturdays means that the average Tuscaloosa resident spends around three hours in traffic each year.
Does More Traffic Mean More Crashes?
A 2019 study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health found that there is, in fact, a relationship between traffic congestion and accidents. The more traffic there is in a given area, the more accidents there are.
There are many factors at play when it comes to auto accidents, and some studies suggest that rural roads with little to no traffic are more dangerous than gridlocked interstates. Regardless of where you’re driving, it’s clear that avoiding an accident is all about avoiding dangerous behaviors, and that means not speeding, becoming distracted, and getting behind the wheel while intoxicated.
When Alabamians Are Hurt in Crashes, We’re Here to Help
Whether they’re injured during rush hour on Interstate 65, or they’re involved in a crash on a rural road at 2 a.m., it’s our goal to always be there for injured victims when negligent drivers hurt them. If you or someone you love was recently injured in a crash that wasn’t your fault, we want to fight for your rights to full compensation.
Contact us today for a free consultation. We know Alabama’s traffic laws and insurance companies, and we know what it takes to win even the toughest auto accident claims.