Proof that your commute really is the worst of the worst

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Los Angeles is the gold standard when it comes to traffic jams, as I learned first-hand when I lived in L.A., but that doesn't mean that elsewhere in Houston, Chicago, Boston and other cities that driving is a walk on the parkway. It's bad out there. How bad?

Well, you can determine your traffic misery index at a new web site called INRIX National Traffic Scorecard. INRIX, being a traffic information company -- the leading such kind, according to their web site. They analyze traffic congestion across almost 50,000 miles of road.

In any case, there web site is fascinating -- that is, if you're interested in traffic and roads. They boast a list of the 100 most congested metropolitan areas.

I thought I'd check out the Cincinnati area, where I've lived for the last 12 years. My father -- who drives every day on I-75 -- will be tickled that he drives on the 33rd most congested road in the country. He has no idea, you see. I'm pretty sure he gets up at 5 a.m. in the mornings, not to beat the traffic, but because he likes seeing the sunrise coming up over billboards as he zips toward downtown.

Anyone who finds their city in the top 10 probably won't be surprised. For instance, New York ranks number 2, and I doubt anyone will be shocked at that. Chicago is number three, which doesn't surprise me, having been stuck in traffic a few times and briefly considered setting myself on fire as a comparatively pleasant diversion, and I'm sure residents of the Windy City won't be saying, "Gee, I was sure we'd be ranking 90th."

But I imagine if you live in Honolulu, Oklahoma City or Knoxville, it might be a little more interesting to see where you're ranked.

You can also check out a list of the 100 worst traffic bottlenecks. It may not make your commute go any faster, but it may make you feel better about your situation. After all, I know when I've been caught in traffic jams, sometimes I blame myself for not driving defensively enough and not listening to a traffic report and managing to get off a freeway exit before the cars slowed to a stop. This way, instead of worrying about the cars surrounding you, you can think back to this web site and the lists and dwell on something else: like why the heck you decided to move to this city, anyhow.

Geoff Williams is a business journalist and the author of C.C. Pyle's Amazing Foot Race: The True Story of the 1928 Coast-to-Coast Run Across America (Rodale).

More reports from the WalletPop traffic copter:

How much would you pay for a green light?

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