All of this overhyping of Los Angeles traffic and car culture is a recurring myth that is rarely questioned. If you look at the hard numbers, they tell a different story. The average commute time in Los Angeles is 28.9 minutes. This is not even the worst in the nation for major metropolitan areas, coming in behind Washington, D.C. (34.3 minutes), New York City (34.7 minutes), and Jersey City (35.6 minutes).
The more telling statistic is that the national average commute time is 25.4 minutes, with some rural Americans logging over an hour on their commutes. Thus, the average Angeleno spends about 3.5 more minutes commuting than the average American. I’m not sure what all the handwringing is about for an additional 3.5 minutes spent per commute.
It is true that Angelenos are stuck in traffic for a greater percentage of their commute, but is a minute where you’re stuck really anymore wasted than a minute where you’re moving if the end result is an approximately similar total commute time? Rural commuters drive more miles at a higher average speed, but the end result either way is being in the car commuting for almost 30 minutes.
I’m an Angeleno. I probably drive about 3 hours per week. I live in a place with a walk score of 96 and a transit score of 83, with a lower rent than neighborhoods in New York or San Francisco with comparable scores. I walk places. Sometimes I walk to the subway and take the subway places, just like countless other Angelenos who use the nation’s 9th busiest heavy rail system and 2nd busiest light rail system. Yelp seems to believe there are over 100 bars I can walk to, so I’m not worried about parking, and I won’t be driving drunk. If I get bored with those 100+ bars, I’ll just take the subway to another neighborhood and explore the 100 bars they have there.
London’s weather is objectively terrible. Los Angelenos spend a marginally larger amount of time commuting in their cars than the average American. I don’t think there’s any comparison to be made here.