Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

Cotuit

Worst Cities to Navigate

Recommended Posts

Abandon all hope, ye who drive in Boston

By Barbara De Lollis, USA TODAY

Boston's bridges, aging roadways, missing signs and crowded arteries have complicated trips for business traveler Ray Thomas.

They've made him late for meetings, made him miss a flight and raised his stress.

So it comes as no surprise to Thomas and others that a new national study ranks metropolitan Boston as the USA's most difficult area to navigate by car. (Related rankings: Driving in metro areas)

"And it was horrid before The Big Dig ever started," says Thomas, an anti-fraud consultant from Tampa, referring to a massive public works project to modernize the downtown highway system.

In a study to be released Tuesday, author-researcher Bert Sperling, known for ranking cities on a wide array of criteria, lists the USA's 75 biggest metropolitan areas according to how difficult they are to drive in. (Related background: Criteria used in the rankings)

Tailgating Boston are Washington, D.C., San Francisco-Oakland, Baltimore and New York/northern New Jersey.

Car rental company Avis and electronics giant Motorola commissioned the study as Avis rolls out its navigation system in new markets. For $10 a day, Avis offers Motorola's portable, satellite-based navigation system, with live operator assistance, in the 60 largest markets. Competitors, including Hertz, offer comparable systems.

Most of the trickiest metro areas to navigate are in the East, where many communities developed before the automobile. Even though cities such as New York are laid out in a straight-forward grid, factors such as bad weather, congestion, bodies of water and sprawl hurt the score, Sperling says.

The study rates metro areas based on factors such as street layout; sprawl; obstacles such as rivers, lakes and bridges; and congestion data calculated by the Texas Transportation Institute. Each year, the institute rates cities with the most congestion. Last year, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Denver, Miami and Chicago topped the list.

To a lesser degree, the scores in Sperling's study reflect an area's rain and snow days, and the simplicity of its route between downtown and the airport. Sperling rated metro areas on a 100-point scale, assigning the highest scores to those that are hardest to navigate.

Among his findings:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


I didn't have a problem driving around Boston, though we mostly walked. I had heard horror stories about the traffic, but it didn't seem so bad. Maybe I got it on a good day.

Ft. Lauderdale area is pretty bad. I can vouch for that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Washington, DC is a grid with a few diagonal streets cutting across it.

San Francisco is also a grid -- actually two different ones that meet at Market Street.

Why would either of these be especially hard to navigate?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would say the same for Los Angeles. The choking traffic could be a factor in disruption of navigation through a grid pattern of streets. It is downtown LA that isn't layed out in a grid.

Chicago also has a north=south and east=west grid.

I don't understand it being hard to navigate streets well layed out. :huh::huh::huh:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The reason why Jacksonville is bad is because of the sprawl that has taken place earlier in the city's tenure. If the size of the city was cut down, it would be much easier to navigate.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Memphis is relatively a easy city to navigate. The exeption of poplar st, our streets are in relatively good condition and wide enough to accomodate the traffic volume. Although there isn't much of a freeway system it's still a easy city to navigate.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have no question why Providence is considered difficult to navigate. We have major streets laid out following ancient Indian paths, and curving for hills that are no longer there. Streets change name from block to block to block. One way streets change direction seemingly at random. Streets are interupted at various blocks by buildings in the middle of the block. The areas where the city is griddish are not set at north-south/east-west, but at whatever angle is most convenient, making it difficult to know which way you are going. Our highways were developed by mad scientists obviously under the influence of hallucinogenic drugs. There's nary a street sign to be found. And we all give directions by telling people to take a left at landmarks that no longer exist.

Navigate this:

Prov.Cntr.map.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Y^ou wanna know why the dc metropolitan area is hard to navigate? Because roads change names very often. Like your driving down tyhe road and the name of the street that you thought you were on has a different name even though youve been going straight the whole time! It's very annoying but hey i like to live here. :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I really don't think that Boston is that bad. The only difficult thing is driving from the Back Bay area to Downtown, this can be difficult if you don't know the City. If you know the location of major streets you will be fine, like:

East/West Streets: Beacon, Comm. Av., Boylston, Hunntington, Memorial Drive, and Storrow Drive.

North/South: Mass Ave, Congress St, Altantic Ave.

And supprisingly few people realize that in the Back Bay there is a group of streets that are in Alphabetical Order from Arilington Street to Hererford Street.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Don't forget Ipswich Street!

btw- I overheard some friends talking about their elderly parents who are so afraid of the Big Dig that they will drive around even if it takes hours.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What?! Who wouldn't want to drive through the big dig? If I was in the area, I'd make a point to go out of my way just to drive through the big dig. LOL

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I guess I can understand why Chicago made the top list if they consider the highways -- which are usually a nightmare anytime of the year. But Chicago has a grid system in the city streets and nicely layed out alleys that allows drivers to cut across one-ways and clogged up streets quickly and easily. However, it does require a little bit of know-how on the part of the driver to navigate the alley's. But I love driving the alley's -- I think that you can always say so much about the neighborhood in Chicago by the way the alley looks. yup B)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd make a point to go out of my way just to drive through the big dig. LOL

I did that a few weeks ago. I had yet to drive over the Zakim Bridge, I had tried to at Christmas but the traffic was insane and I ended up going through the city instead. But I finally got to drive over it. Drove through the city, over the bridge then turned around and came back. Too cool!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Don't forget Ipswich Street!

and beyond it, Jersey Street and Kilmarnock Street. But all three are really outside the Back Bay grid, which is interrupted by both the Fens and the Boston & Albany RR/Mass Turnpike right-of-way.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Parts of Tokyo are pretty hard to navigate...

The part I'm in is basically paths between fields paved into roads that curve around alot.

And the building are close and block any view of landmarks to locate yourself.

Downtown Tokyo traffic is not fun. They have a system of expressways but compared to the US they are very narrow (1 or 2 lanes in one direction).

Another bad thing is that most streets have no names...only a few avenues have any name. How the post office ever gets the mail delivered is a mystery to me...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Atlanta is hard for visitors or newcomers to navigate because it is not layed out in a grid pattern. The lay of the land and the fact that many main thoroughfares such as Peachtree St. are just former indian trails through the woods that have been expanded make it confusing for the uninitiated. It's a confusing maze of winding, hilly streets in most areas and the beautiful trees covering everything add to the confusion for many people.

I've lived here so long I can navigate this city with my eyes closed, but I pity people who don't know their way around.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Durham, NC is probably one of the most trickest places. They constantly change names and make no sense what so ever where you are going. New Jersey as a whole is most likely the most difficult place to navigate in the country if off the state highway system. The county and municipality maintained roads are horrendous with signage and continuity in general. If it was not for county pentagon shields (yes i use them to give directions, haha), i dont know how i could help people get around because im bad with landmarks! Landmarks are a bad way to give directions because a lot of extraneous elements will occur (ex: gas stations or 1st/2nd curve on the hwy). I often use pentagons, traffic signals and street names intermittantly if they sound catchy (ex: Bubble Gum Church Road).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Japanese cities are fascinating in that most streets there don't have names, and houses are numbered by order built rather than street position.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

houses are numbered by order built rather than street position.

Boston has a few houses that were moved at some point during their life and kept their old street number, even though it doesn't align with their new location.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I always thought Pittsburgh was really hard to drive around, but it ranked 35th. Interesting.

We have a lot of one-way streets, dead-ends, etc. People complain all the time. But I guess it isn't as bad as I thought.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i'd have to say that pensacola is pretty bad... for a city it's size... first, the street layout is terrible and there are no east-west freeways to get to the other side of town. Second, everyone drives because public transit is inconvienent, so traffic is backed up. and last, the streets change names too much. i.e. perry ave. turns to bayou then to brent, michigan, beverly, and finally saufley field... not good!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I always thought Pittsburgh was really hard to drive around, but it ranked 35th. Interesting.

We have a lot of one-way streets, dead-ends, etc. People complain all the time. But I guess it isn't as bad as I thought.

Pittsburgh is a challenging but rewarding city to navigate. There's nothing I love more than getting lost in Pittsburgh's fascinating neighborhoods.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.