New York City, the most populous and iconic city in the United States, is also the worst place to drive in the state of New York, according to several studies and rankings. The Big Apple has the worst traffic and infrastructure, the highest parking rates, and the lowest number of auto-repair shops per capita among the 100 largest cities in the country.
Traffic and Infrastructure
New York City is notorious for its congested and chaotic traffic, especially during rush hours. According to a WalletHub study, New York City ranked last in traffic and infrastructure out of 100 cities, based on metrics such as annual hours spent in congestion, road quality, bridge quality, and public transit accessibility. The study also found that New York City drivers spend an average of 133 hours per year stuck in traffic, which is the highest among all cities.
The poor infrastructure of New York City also contributes to the driving woes. The city has many aging and deteriorating roads and bridges, which pose safety and maintenance issues. According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, 9.5% of New York City’s bridges are structurally deficient, and 46% of its major roads are in poor or mediocre condition. The city also has a limited and expensive parking supply, which forces many drivers to circle around for a spot or pay exorbitant fees.
Cost of Ownership and Maintenance
Owning and maintaining a car in New York City is also very costly, compared to other cities. The WalletHub study ranked New York City 83rd out of 100 cities in cost of ownership and maintenance, based on factors such as gas prices, insurance premiums, car theft rates, and auto-repair costs. The study also found that New York City has the highest parking rates of all cities, with an average of $28.94 per day and $587.07 per month.
Additionally, New York City drivers have to pay high taxes and fees for their vehicles, such as registration fees, inspection fees, tolls, and congestion pricing. The city also has strict and complex parking rules and regulations, which often result in fines and tickets for drivers. According to a report by the Independent Budget Office, New York City collected $957 million in parking fines and fees in fiscal year 2023, which is more than the combined revenue of the next 10 largest U.S. cities.
Safety and Access to Vehicles and Maintenance
Another aspect that makes New York City a bad place to drive is the safety and access to vehicles and maintenance. The WalletHub study ranked New York City 16th out of 100 cities in safety, based on metrics such as accident likelihood, fatality rate, car theft rate, and DUI arrests. The study also found that New York City has the fifth lowest car theft rate of all cities, which is a positive sign for drivers.
However, New York City also has a high rate of collisions, injuries, and fatalities involving pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists. According to the Department of Transportation, there were 203 traffic fatalities and 54,806 injuries in New York City in 2023, which is an increase from the previous year. The city also has the fewest auto-repair shops per capita of all cities, which makes it difficult and expensive for drivers to find and access quality and reliable services.
New York City is a vibrant and diverse city that offers many attractions and opportunities for residents and visitors. However, it is also a challenging and frustrating city for drivers, who have to deal with the worst traffic and infrastructure, the highest cost of ownership and maintenance, and the low safety and access to vehicles and maintenance. Therefore, many people prefer to use alternative modes of transportation, such as public transit, biking, walking, or ride-hailing, to get around the city. New York City may be a great place to live, work, and play, but it is certainly not a great place to drive.