How Bad Is Ann Arbor Traffic?

Ann Arbor traffic tends to flow fairly smoothly, but there are some traffic hotspots that can feel congested at times.
Written by Mary Alice Morris
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
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Ann Arbor has a notable lack of serious traffic congestion, even though it does host a population of student drivers who attend the University of Michigan. 
Despite the young population, Ann Arbor has a decent flow of traffic, even during the worst congestion it sees, according to a recent study. In fact, the Texas A&M Transportation Institute found that commuters only experience 10 hours of delay annually from traveling during peak traffic times—ranking 271st in the country. 
However, even free-flowing Ann Arbor has its own traffic hangups. To help you navigate through the home of the University of Michigan Wolverines,
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super app
Jerry
has put together a traffic guide for the city. This guide can show you the traffic statistics and peak travel times to help you easily get around Ann Arbor. We'll even share how we can help you keep your
Ann Arbor insurance costs
low, so keep reading! 
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How bad is Ann Arbor traffic?

In short, it’s really not that bad. Ann Arbor ranks low when it comes to measuring traffic congestion—which is a good thing! However, despite the relatively relaxed pace of traffic, travel experts estimate that its humble amount of congestion still adds up to a value loss of $72 million per year in terms of lost time and wasted fuel. 
The congestion cost per commuter is about $228 per year—certainly not chump change, but far less than in some other cities. 
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Why is Ann Arbor traffic so smooth? 

While nobody would argue there’s such a thing as “good traffic,” there definitely is smooth traffic, and it can be found in Ann Arbor. A lot of factors contribute to a city’s traffic flow—or lack thereof—including population,
highway
infrastructure, and local driving culture. 
Here’s what makes Ann Arbor’s traffic a little less stressful compared to other cities. 
MORE: The ultimate guide to moving to Ann Arbor

Population size

Ann Arbor is a small city, with a population of just over 120,000. It’s fair to point out, though, that this population doesn’t reflect the number of students attending the University of Michigan, many of whom are also on the roads of Ann Arbor. 

Traffic hotspots

Even Ann Arbor has some traffic hotspots, especially during commuters’ hours. These include the major highways of I-94, US-23, and M-14, which see occasional
traffic congestion
along exits and entry ramps. 
Another consideration is the Huron River, which runs right through the city and has only a few crossing points. Sometimes getting from one side of the river to the other means running into a little traffic. 
Other notable points of congestion are where US-23 intersects with Washtenaw Avenue; State Street; Madison Street; Packard Street; and anywhere near Michigan Stadium—which happens to be the largest stadium in the United States.

Ann Arbor driving habits

Even though it’s a small city, Ann Arbor has its peak traffic hours from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. daily. Also, it’s worth noting that heading into the city from the west is less congested than traveling in from the east because the nearby population in
Detroit
, to the east of Ann Arbor, is denser than in the west. 
MORE: The best type of car insurance for long-distance commuters
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How to navigate Ann Arbor traffic like a pro

Cities of any size can see traffic hangups, like congestion, wrecks, or roadwork, and Ann Arbor is no exception. To keep you and your car safe—and to avoid skyrocketing insurance premiums caused by an accident—follow these tips for getting around Ann Arbor. 
  • Avoid rush hour traffic whenever possible. Of course, if you must travel to work during Ann Arbor’s typical rush hour timeframe, then try to avoid the busiest highways and intersections. 
  • Try an alternate route. Finding a backroad to your destination could save you some time—especially if traffic along the US-23 river crossing causes a backup on Washtenaw Avenue or Main Street. 
  • Listen to the local traffic experts. Tune in to Newsradio 950 WWJ on 950 AM or follow them on Twitter for up-to-date traffic information, especially during rush hour. 
  • Keep your eyes on the road, even when traffic seems light. Avoid distractions like using your phone, changing the music, eating food, or applying makeup while driving. And even when the traffic is light, always maintain a safe distance between your car and the car in front of you.

Update your car insurance

Regardless of where you’re driving and how busy (or not) the traffic is, it might be time to look at your car insurance policy and consider switching to one that can offer great coverage and big savings. That’s exactly what
Jerry
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Relative to other cities, Ann Arbor’s traffic is fairly smooth. However, there are hotspots and hangups at busy intersections, highways, and river crossings. Avoiding the rush hour and listening to 950 AM on the radio for traffic updates can help you navigate through the city.
Michigan Stadium and Stadium Boulevard are notorious for traffic in Ann Arbor. A few other sites of frequent congestion include State Street, Madison Street, Washtenaw Avenue, US-23, and Packard Street.
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