(TNS) — When Miami drivers are stuck in traffic, they vent on Instagram, and the volume of their complaints ranks second only to gridlocked Los Angeles among frustrated U.S. drivers.
The greater Miami/Miami Beach area recorded 928 posts per 100,000 residents, according to an analysis of 126,085 Instagram posts with the hashtags #Traffic, #TrafficSucks and #TrafficJam by the Auto Insurance Center. Los Angeles/Santa Monica ranked first with 993 posts. Atlanta was a distant third with 584; San Francisco was fourth with 484, and New York City was fifth with 249. Seattle, Boston, Washington, D.C., Orlando and Las Vegas rounded out the top 10.
The study also looked at where the posts were clustered. The Miami hot spots were downtown, in the southern half of Miami Beach and on the 836 expressway west of the Palmetto Expressway. In L.A., most posts originated from portions of four of the world's most-congested freeways on the 101, the 5, the 10 and the 405.
Time stamps on the posts indicated that the heaviest day for complaints was Friday, usually late afternoon, when tensions boil over at the end of the work week and everyone just wants to get home. Sunday had the fewest. The worst months nationally were February and October, and April was the lightest.
Washington, D.C., had the most complaints by state (if you want to call the District a state) with 221 per 100,000 residents, followed by New York (138), California (95), Nevada (85), Wyoming (71) and Florida (45).
The average American commuter spends 50 hours per year stuck in traffic, according to a report by the Inrix data company. But major metro areas are much more miserable. Los Angeles commuters endure an average of 81 hours per year in traffic jams, with D.C., San Francisco, Houston and New York in the 70s.
In another study, Miami ranked sixth in congestion in the 2017 Traffic Index by TomTom, a navigation and mapping company. Miami's score reflected a 2 percent increase from 2016. Los Angeles was No. 1, followed by San Francisco, New York, Seattle and San Jose. Portland, Honolulu, Washington, D.C., and Boston rounded out the top 10 as most congested cities.
"Traffic has a significant impact on our quality of life and local economy," said Alice N. Bravo, director of the Miami-Dade County Department of Transportation and Public Works. "With that in mind, Miami-Dade has focused on improving mobility by investing in infrastructure and new technologies designed to not only improve traffic conditions, but also give priority to our transit vehicles, which transport thousands of our residents and visitors every day."
Among the measures the county is implementing: Technology along 12 of the busiest corridors to adjust signal timing to demand; the Strategic Miami Area Rapid Transit Plan (SMART Plan) to expand public transit into six rapid transit corridors, supported by an express bus network; real-time tracking of the Metrobus, Metrorail and Metromover fleet with an upgraded tracker app for riders, and modernization of trains and buses.
Americans drove a record 3.15 trillion miles last year, according to federal estimates.
"How can we avoid the congestion, clear the roads and get moving again?" researchers asked. "There are plenty of suggestions — like making cities more bicycle-friendly, having better public transportation and charging peak-hour tolls.
"At least we have Instagram to let off some steam."
And driverless cars are projected to roll out in 2020 or 2021, with the hope that they will reduce congestion.
Car-bound Miamians can take some solace in the fact that they're not driving in L.A. Or in London, where commuters spent 101 hours — or 2 1/2 work weeks — simmering in traffic delays last year.
©2017 Miami Herald Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.