Drivers in Louisville don’t lose nearly as much time due to roadway congestion each year as Americans in other major cities. While rush hour does cause delays, the average rate of traffic congestion in Louisville is only 15%.
Louisville, Kentucky is the 29th-most populated city in America, named after the French King Louis XVI. Nestled just along the southern banks of the Ohio River, this Southern city is as bluegrass as it gets, known for its classic events and robust sports history—but not known for particularly bad traffic.
So, what’s traffic in Louisville like? Well, the
car insurance experts at
Jerry are here to discuss Louisville’s unremarkable traffic. We’re going to explore detailed stats on traffic in Louisville, walk through some pro tips for skirting rush hour, and show you how Jerry can help you keep your
Louisville insurance costs low!
How bad is Louisville traffic?
2021 Global Traffic Scorecard is an international study that compiles traffic trends of world cities. Louisville ranks 175th in the world for most traffic-congested cities, according to data. Transportation analysts determined that the average Louisville driver will lose just 7 hours to congestion each year, incurring a cost of about $100 due to traffic.
Congestion dipped even more in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but it’s back to the same level it was pre-pandemic at this point. As drivers return to their normal routines, head back to the office, and go out on the town again, Louisville traffic is likely to continue worsening—albeit slightly. All in all, traffic is unlikely to be a problem in the near future.
Below, check out the changes in traffic over the past three years.
How congested was Louisville?
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What does this mean, you ask? On average, in 2019, traffic was 15% slower than in non-congested baseline conditions. So, a trip that would normally take 30 minutes would take five minutes longer at 15%.
Why is Louisville traffic so mild?
Louisville’s traffic decreased significantly around 2017, when the Lincoln Bridge was finished. The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and the Indiana Department of Transportation went in on the project to implement a toll system to help cover the costs of development. These tolls had the unexpected effect of cutting traffic in half, taking the average number of cars per day down from approximately 130,000 cars to less than 65,000. Some experts have heralded this as a traffic experiment that demonstrates the effectiveness of modest tolls—$1-2 in this case—to fix traffic congestion.
Louisville is the 43rd-largest metropolitan area in the United States, home to approximately 1.5 million people. Of that group, more than 55,000 spend 20 to 25 minutes per day commuting between home and work. Only 4,000 commute more than 90 minutes a day.
Compared to a city of similar population size, like Portland—which has nearly double Louisville’s population density—Louisville’s traffic is an absolute dream.
While Louisville’s traffic is not a major issue, there are a few spots in the city around highway exits and downtown where traffic can become bottlenecked. For example, Highway 64, which runs along the Ohio River and connects to the I-65 bridge, can get backed up during rush hour and on busy weekends.
The most consistently congested area is the Central Business District, just north of which is the 2nd Street bridge. It runs almost parallel to the I-65 bridges. Both of these entrances into Louisville from the north can still move slowly, as drivers attempt to navigate the exits.
Highway 31 into the city from the east can also get backed up where it intersects with Highway 60. If you’re able to confidently navigate congested intersections, you shouldn’t find these chokepoints to be significant problems, except during the peaks of rush hour.
Despite the fact that Louisville has the 29th-largest population in the U.S., it has a relatively low population density—only 2,335people per square mile, similar to a city like Rockford, Illinois (which is a fraction of Louisville’s size).
A very small percentage of people in Louisville need to drive more than 90 minutes to get to and from work every day. Lower commute times contribute to lower traffic, and Louisville has succeeded in establishing both.
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How to navigate Louisville traffic like a pro
The reality is that every city is going to have its share of bad traffic, especially around rush hours. Driving during these times will always be more dangerous than other parts of the day. And while traffic itself may not be too big of an issue in Louisville, the dangers of driving are still very real.
While a fatal crash is still statistically rare, even a non-fatal crash can have very real and frustrating consequences. Collisions can even cause your insurance to go way up.
Luckily, there are very practical ways that you can avoid the most dangerous times and areas in terms of Louisville traffic. Here are some helpful suggestions to help you navigate Louisville congestion like a traffic pro:
Avoid rush hour. Louisville doesn’t have much of a morning rush hour problem, but things can start to get fairly congested in the later afternoon as drivers begin their commutes home. Try to avoid the 4 to 6 p.m. rush, when the city experiences its peak congestion at a level of about 30%.
Take the toll road if you need to cross the river. The implementation of the bridge tolls on I-65 opened up a ton of free space on the interstate. You can get a discount on your tolls if you commute using the toll bridge consistently.
Use a traffic app to stay ahead of the unexpected.
WHAS11 offers a traffic app that allows you to see real-time changes in Louisville’s traffic patterns. You can use this to help you plan your route before you embark on your commute.
Stay focused. While you may not be at risk of a high-speed collision, it’s extremely common for mild collisions to take place during rush hour. If you do end up in a traffic jam, drive intentionally and proactively by
avoiding distractions and allowing space for the drivers around you.
Prepare for Louisville traffic by updating your car insurance
If you’re expecting to visit Louisville or if you commute daily through the city, now would be a prudent time to update your car insurance policy to make sure you’re covered—just in case you do run into the worst of Louisville traffic.
And luckily for all of us,
Jerry takes the hassle out of updating your car insurance. All you have to do is download our
trustworthy super app, and it’ll take Jerry a mere 45 seconds to find personalized quotes from 50+ top insurance providers.
With help from a top-notch team of insurance wizards, you’ll have your new insurance plan in place within an hour or less, and Jerry takes care of it all so you don’t have to deal with annoying phone calls, confusing forms, or long wait times! And the greatest part about it is that Jerry users save an average of $800+ a year.
Jerry was helpful every step of the way. They saved me over $100 a month for insurance in Kentucky.” —Jim F.