How Bad Is Philadelphia Traffic?

Philadelphia is ranked the 10th worst city for traffic in the United States.
Written by Ethan Moser
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
In a recent study, Philadelphia was named the 10th worst city in the United States for bad traffic. 
, home to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Independence Hall, and the world-famous Philly cheese-steak, is a historic city situated on Pennsylvania’s eastern border. Philadelphia is known for being a centerpiece of early American history, the notorious “Rocky” steps, and, yes—its bad traffic.
Just how bad is the traffic in Philly, though? Here with the answer is the #1 rated
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broker app,
. With this comprehensive guide on all things Philadelphia traffic, we’ll help you navigate these Pennsylvania streets like a pro, even if you’re just passing through. 
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How bad is Philadelphia traffic?

According to data collected by
, Philadelphia is ranked the 10th worst city in the United States for traffic. TomTom also reports that Philly drivers lost an average of 75 hours to rush hour traffic jams throughout 2021. This is up from 2020’s pandemic-era 62 hours, but still not up to the pre-COVID 105 annual hours reported in 2019. 
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Why is Philadelphia traffic so bad?

Bad traffic can be the result of a series of contributing factors including, but not limited to, population size and infrastructure issues. Here is a breakdown of Philadelphia’s key traffic-causing issues. 

Population size 

Philadelphia has the 8th largest metropolitan area in the United States with more than 6.2 million residents. Add on to that tourist traffic and daily commuters in and out of the city, especially with New York City being so close by, and you’ve got yourself a perfect storm for bad traffic. 

Infrastructure issues

One of Philadelphia’s biggest issues when it comes to inner-city traffic jams is its narrow 18th-century roadways. Because these roadways have been preserved for their historical value, it has become increasingly difficult to accommodate the city’s ever-growing population and flocking tourist community.
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How to navigate Philadelphia traffic like a pro

Bad traffic is
, even for the most level-headed of drivers, but it can also be dangerous and is frequently the cause of fatal accidents. 
According to data collected by the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, there were more than 150 fatalities in Philadelphia that were the result of car accidents in 2020. Even in crashes that aren’t fatal, however, the financial burden of repairs costs, medical bills, and
increases in your car insurance premium
can prove astronomical. 
You can avoid accidents and the concurrent increased insurance rates by always practicing safe and smart driving while on the road. Here are some additional tips and tricks to help you steer clear of accidents in Philadelphia. 
  • Avoid rush hours if possible. Rush hour is an issue in most urban areas, and Philly is no exception. Between the hours of 6 am and 9 am, as well as between 3 pm and 7 pm, traffic in and out of Philadelphia is at its busiest. Staying off the road during rush hour whenever possible can help you to avoid clogged roadways and potential collisions.
  • Take back roads. The best way to avoid collisions and traffic on major freeways and interstates is to avoid those routes altogether. Sometimes taking backroads or scenic routes can prove not only safer but faster too, depending on the severity of traffic.  
  • Tune into a traffic radio station. Multiple radio stations in Philadelphia broadcast real-time traffic updates all day long to keep drivers informed about current road conditions. In Philly, these stations include 103.9 FM and 1060 AM
  • Stay focused. Even when you’re in standstill traffic, it’s important to stay focused and
    avoid distractions
    , including your phone. It’s also important to leave sufficient distance between yourself and other cars. 

Prepare for Philadelphia traffic by updating your car insurance

If you live anywhere remotely near a city or metropolitan area, chances are that traffic is an unfortunate part of your day-to-day life. To protect your car against the possible dangers of traffic-jammed driving, you may want to consider
upgrading your insurance coverage
, it’s easy to upgrade your car insurance policy, or even switch providers altogether. In less than a minute, our top-rated car insurance super app can match you with multiple competitive quotes from more than 50 of the top car insurance providers in the Philadelphia area. 
In addition to saving you time on shopping for car insurance, Jerry can also save you money—an average of  $887 a year! 
“I heard about
through a podcast and decided to try it out. My 2008 Range Rover Sport was costing me $168/month before Jerry found me the exact same coverage for $84/month under Plymouth Rock. I’ll definitely keep shopping for insurance with Jerry.” —Eileen P.


Philadelphia can be a challenge for drivers who aren't used to driving in busy cities, but practicing safe and defensive driving and investing in a reliable GPS navigation system can help you tackle Philly’s streets like a local.
If you want to avoid rush hour, your best bet is to hit Philadelphia’s roads either before 6 am, between 10 am and 3 pm, or after 7 pm.
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