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What Are the Worst Traffic Times in Boston?

This content has been reviewed by Jason D. Stone.

Up until 2020, the average Boston driver spent six collective days per year stuck behind the wheel in traffic, longer than drivers in most other U.S. cities. Though Boston’s traffic decreased significantly during the pandemic, most residents are expecting it to increase yet again as life inches closer to normalcy.

These problems may not be news to you, as you probably have your own war stories about our city’s infamous traffic. Though some of these congestion woes are inevitable, knowing when and where traffic is most likely to back up might give you an advantage in some circumstances.

When Is Traffic the Worst in Boston?

According to the city’s own estimates, traffic peaks across the city on weekdays (Monday through Friday) from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. and again from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Those are two big windows that many commuters can’t avoid. However, additional research sheds even more light on the specific times Boston drivers get stuck in traffic.

Research from MassDOT Identifies Congested Traffic Times and Locations

A hallmark of Boston traffic congestion is unpredictability. One flat tire or minor crash can have a domino effect that results in significant delays for thousands of motorists.

However, extensive research has been conducted by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) to identify areas and times that are most likely to see heavy traffic congestion.

During weekdays, the top five areas of traffic congestion occur on:

  • I-93 southbound from Mystic Valley Parkway in Medford to McGrath Highway in Somerville at 7 a.m.
  • Route 2 eastbound approaching Alewife Station at 8 a.m.
  • I-93 northbound from the Braintree Split to Neponset Circle at 7 a.m.
  • Route 2 eastbound approaching Alewife Station at 7 a.m.
  • I-93 southbound from Mystic Valley Parkway in Medford to McGrath Highway in Somerville at 8 a.m.

Other research cited by MassDOT reveals nine stretches of road that see over 10 hours of traffic congestion every day:

  • Route 1A southbound in Revere
  • American Legion Highway, (Route 60), in Revere
  • O’Brien and McGrath Highways northbound from Leverett Circle to Mystic Valley Parkway
  • The Fellsway and Main Street southbound from Reading to Medford
  • The Sagamore Bridge
  • Fresh Pond Parkway in Cambridge
  • I-93 (from Boston to New Hampshire, running along the Central Artery portion, the Southeast Expressway segment and a segment that partially carries the I-95/128 designation)

Unfortunately, traffic problems are spreading to areas outside of the Boston metro area, including the area inside I-95/128 to the area extending out to I-495, and including radial roadways such as Route 3, Route 24, and the Massachusetts Turnpike, according to MassDOT.

Rush hour commutes along Route 9, Route 7, I-91, I-290, and some western portions of the Mass Pike can also lead to frustrating traffic delays for drivers.

The Consequences of Heavy Traffic in Boston

Sitting in traffic has financial, physical, and mental consequences for Boston’s drivers. Time spent in traffic means:

  • Lost productivity (and income)
  • Increased fuel costs (and potentially increased vehicle maintenance and repair costs)
  • Hours spent being sedentary
  • The frustration and stress of sitting in heavy traffic

Several proposed solutions could ease Boston’s traffic woes, including the implementation of “managed lanes,” where drivers pay tolls for access to a separate lane that runs parallel to the main roadway. These lanes might also be available at no cost for those carpooling, though the details aren’t yet finalized.

We Can’t Help Traffic, But We Can Help Injured Crash Victims

At Jason Stone Injury Lawyers, we wish we could fix Boston’s traffic problems. But we do help people who have been injured in crashes, including those caused by traffic jams and heavy traffic, through no fault of their own.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a crash, contact the Boston car accident attorneys at Jason Stone Injury Lawyers today for a free consultation.

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