Honolulu crawled to the top as the worst U.S. city for drivers. A national study released earlier this week found that island drivers spent about 58 hours in traffic last year, whizzing right past Los Angeles (56 hours) and San Francisco (48 hours).

Is Honolulu traffic as really as bad as they say?

I’m not surprised that they’re saying our traffic is bad but the worst? That’s when I read the study further and saw that Inrix, Inc. (provider of traffic data) based its decision on only two sections of the H-1 freeway, a total of about 11 miles, as compared to the miles upon miles of roadway in L.A. and San Francisco. The study would be more believable if it had taken into account other areas of Honolulu and not just the exits at Vineyard Boulevard/Ward Avenue and Waimalu. Sure, those areas may be bad at times but with the easy-breezy roadways surrounding it, perhaps the results would get evened out and we wouldn’t be the worst?

Although the results seem a bit exaggerated to me, there’s no denying that traffic congestion over the years continues to increase. So much so, that many joke about there no longer being a specific “traffic hour” but rather that any hour can be congested with on the roads. The study actually reported every Tuesday from 5:15 to 5:30 p.m. to be the worst time for Honolulu traffic congestion. I’ve unfortunately been stuck in New York traffic, L.A. traffic and San Fran traffic many times; to me, those seemed much worse than the traffic I drive through at home. I remember thinking that Oahu’s traffic had been a welcomed relief after one of our road trips through several metropolitan cities.

The study comes in the midst of much heated controversy over Honolulu’s $5.27 billion rail project. But rather than get into that, let’s talk about what this study means for you, our visitors. It means you could explore other ways of commuting, such as riding TheBus or even renting a bike. It also means you should share in the Aloha Spirit, which can be found all over the islands and the islands’ roadways. Wave or shaka to express thanks to a fellow driver or be that “fellow driver” who lets others pass. Don’t let traffic ruin your vacation in Hawaii; after all, there’s an ocean to be played in and mountains to explore. So spend your energy outdoors rather than in your rental car.

Photo Credit: Noa Myers

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