Philly Among Worst Cities for Drivers, WalletHub Says

But with only a few highways into the city, is that any surprise?

Traffic on the Ben Franklin Bridge

Photo | Jeff Fusco

If it wasn’t already obvious based on your morning commute — or Sandy Hingston’s — Philadelphia is a really bad city for drivers.

WalletHub found that Philly is the third-worst U.S. city for driving, based on factors such as a vehicle’s operating costs, traffic, weather, and risk of theft, among other criteria, CBSPhilly reported earlier today. The ranking compared the 100 biggest cities in the U.S. (based on population), of which Philly is the fifth-largest overall, with around 1.5 million residents.

WalletHub also calculated that U.S. drivers are on the road about 200 hours each year, not including traffic, which accounts for another 40 hours. Put in terms of working hours (40 hours a week), the study said, that sum equals a six-week vacation. Average gas prices — for the Philadelphia-Wilmington-Atlantic City statistical region, currently $2.739/gallon (BLS data as of May 2015)—and the average time lost to traffic annually were also factors in the final ranking.

In the study’s main findings, Philadelphia ranked 97th out of 100 for accident likelihood against the U.S. average (thanks Roosevelt Boulevard!) and has the 98th-fewest car wash stations per capita. In addition, Philadelphia has the 22nd-highest parking rates, though a Philly Mag staffer said last summer that parking in Philly should be more expensive still.

WalletHub also pulled together a panel of transportation experts from institutions and universities around the country to discuss improving safety, reducing congestion and accidents, and other topics. The many answers can be read on the study’s page.

For the methodology, which was briefly explained above, WalletHub picked four categories — cost, traffic, and road quality, safety, and “driver and car wellness.” They then graded all 100 cities (defined as only the city proper, not surrounding areas) on 21 overall weighted criteria classed under those categories. For example, in the Costs category, gas prices were considered at twice the value of the other three criteria — car insurance premiums, maintenance and parking rates.

Without further ado, here’s the full WalletHub ranking map:

It’s likely no surprise that smaller cities ranked towards the top, and that most major metropolises found themselves near the bottom. Philadelphia is right in the mix with Boston (94), New York (100), Washington, D.C. (99), Baltimore (92), San Francisco (97), Detroit (96), Chicago (93) and Los Angeles (91). Newark, New Jersey (95) is also one of the worst.

Don’t worry, though. Our friendly neighbor across the state, Pittsburgh, is also in the bottom half, coming in at 71.

Here are Philly’s individual ranks: Costs (90), Traffic and Road Conditions (96), Safety (82) and Car and Driver Wellness (81).

But we did rank fifth in public transportation (last year, at least)!

Source: WalletHub