How Bad Is Worcester Traffic?

Worcester has an 11% congestion level with some severe rush hour traffic.
Written by Rob Shapiro
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
background
Drivers in Worcester have to prepare for two waves of morning rush hour traffic and one on the way home that starts around 4 pm. The congestion level isn’t too bad at 11%, and many residents note that the heavy traffic still moves at a decent pace.  
Located in central
Massachusetts
, Worcester is called the “Heart of the Commonwealth.” It is a historic city that’s home to a few universities. In many respects, it is one of the best cities in the state, offering residents equal parts of history and fun family activities.
Another feather in Worcester's cap is its relatively mild traffic. Its world ranking is 357th among cities with the worst traffic, which is pretty good considering its population of close to 200,000
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Jerry
, the #1 rated
car insurance
app, can help you drive more comfortably around Worcester with this guide that covers traffic patterns, how the pandemic has changed driving trends, and how to avoid getting stuck in traffic on Worcester roads. Plus, we'll give you some tips to keep your
Worcester car insurance costs
nice and low.

How bad is Worcester traffic?

Overall, the traffic in Worcester is mild. Residents experience typical morning and afternoon rush hours. 
What’s important to note is that the morning usually features two installments of heavy congestion. One starts around 6:30 am due to teachers and tradespeople getting an early start to their day. The second starts around 8 am,with a slight lull in between.
The good news is that traffic tends to be slow-moving without causing vehicles to be stopped in bumper-to-bumper traffic.
Year
Hours lost to congestion
2019
59 hours
2020
33 hours
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Why is Worcester traffic so good?

There are a few reasons—like urban planning and population growth—why traffic isn’t a significant issue in Worcester. Let’s break down the factors to consider.

Urban Planning

How an urban area was designed dictates the flow of traffic and plays a role in the number of bottlenecks that drivers could experience. Worcester was developed with commuters in mind and has also invested in expanding roadways to match its growing population. 

Population size 

Worcester has the second-largest population in Massachusetts after Boston. Normally, this would be an indicator of heavy traffic, long rush hours, and periods of congestion. Worcester has bucked this trend thanks to urban planning and fewer out-of-city commuters compared to the rest of the state.

Major chokepoints

One contributing factor to a city’s traffic is the number of traffic hotspots. Despite the overall traffic being manageable, Worcester’s most notable hotspots include:
  • Main St. 
  • Forester St. 
  • Front St.
  • Martin Luther King Jr. BLVD
  • Franklin St.
  • Commercial St.
Considering Worcester’s size, this isn’t a large number of bottleneck areas, which is another reason why their traffic is so good. 
MORE: Staying safe while driving in snow

Driving habits

Worcester’s rush hours are pretty standard. Hitting the road before 3 pm can reduce your driving time significantly every week. Generally speaking, traffic picks up around 8 am and then again at 4 pm. 
Due to the pandemic,Worcester’s morning rush has decreased by 7%, and the evening rush has dropped even more dramatically by 24% since 2019.
MORE: The best type of car insurance to get if you commute long distances
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How to navigate Worcester traffic like a pro

Traffic can get under the skin of drivers, causing dangerous episodes of road rage in addition to accidents. Try these tips to avoid traffic and its consequences:
  • Leave just before rush hour starts in the morning and the afternoon. If possible, ask your boss if you can start early. 
  • Regularly check radio traffic reports. The preferred station of many Worcester drivers is 580 AM.
  • Pay attention while driving and avoid distractions to keep up with traffic and not be the source of any congestion.
MORE: The 3 best apps for avoiding traffic jams

Prepare for Worcester traffic by updating your car insurance

Driving in any part of Massachusetts calls for having appropriate car insurance that’s within your budget. You should review your car insurance at least twice a year and check what rates other providers are offering.  
Thankfully,
Jerry
makes comparing quotes as simple as possible! Once you’re signed up, Jerry's
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Jerry users save an average of $887 annually while reaping the benefits of routine shopping and support from our agents along the way.
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FAQs

Worcester is not particularly hard to drive in. Urban planning and low numbers of commuters make the area easier to navigate than other parts of Massachusetts.
On weekdays, leaving before 8 am and around 3 pm can help you avoid morning and afternoon rush hours.
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