Unsurprisingly, Newark and Jersey City Rank High for Worst Cities to Drive in Nationwide

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The Heights Central Avenue Jersey City
Heavy traffic along Central Avenue in The Heights, Jersey City. Photo by Jared Kofsky/Jersey Digs.

The love story between Americans and their cars is long and storied, but a new study shows that driving in two Garden State cities might make commuters feel like they’re in a bad romance.

A new study released this month from Washington, D.C.-based WalletHub breaks down the best and worst places to drive across the country using a variety of criteria. The data set includes factors like traffic and infrastructure, average gas prices, annual hours in congestion per auto commuter, and auto-repair shops per capita.


Ranking the 100 largest cities across 30 indicators of driver-friendliness, the study determined that Newark was the 5th worst city for auto users. In terms of our region, New York City was not too far behind at ninth-worst while Jersey City ranked #20, just ahead of Boston, Massachusetts.

The worst marks for the tri-state area’s cities come from the total traffic and infrastructure data set. Jersey City ranked 98 out of the 100 largest places, while Newark came in at 97 and New York clocked in dead last at 100.


The study also revealed that Jersey City apparently doesn’t have a ton of places to get your car cleaned, as it ranked in the bottom five for car washes per capita. Weighing all of WalletHub’s factors, the worst overall city for driving in the country is more than a little ironic. Often dubbed Motor City, Detroit, Michigan, was ranked the worst for drivers.

The good news for New Jersey’s urban dwellers is that while the roads are congested, a significant portion of the population isn’t on them as part of their daily commute. According to an American Community Survey that’s conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, 47.6% of Jersey City residents take public transit to work. That ranked second among cities with a population of 100,000 or greater.

The same survey estimates that 26.4% of Newark residents take mass transit to work, which is good for 8th nationally. The New York-Newark-Jersey City metropolitan region is tops in the country when it comes to mass transit use, as 31% of the working population uses it to commute to work.

The best cities to drive in tend to be in the South and Midwest regions of the country, with Raleigh, North Carolina, topping the list. The study concluded that the country’s drivers spend an average of more than 310 hours annually on the road, which adds up to a total of nearly 13 days.

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8 COMMENTS

  1. Jersey City didn’t used to be. Kids looked forward to learning how to drive in Liberty State Park, that’s not happening anymore. Since the inflation forget about it. New York drivers are thee worst.

    • Liberty State Park – the one single green marvel in all of Jersey City – was once a place to teach kids to drive?

      Thank God that phase passed!! Leave that place for us runners and cyclists please.

  2. Jersey City is a very nice city too live in. But finding parking and cost of living has gone up. Also slum lords still exisist so also have to deal with them. Traffic is the worst especially when your next too NY.

  3. Politicians allowed the following: over development, the most population density imagined, over reaching policies, no real rent control, unfair parking authority. What good will your bike Lanes be if only a certain financially capable class of people are the only residents left in Jersey City. Bring back Reaganomics. It works. The middle class is dwindling thanks to hyper gentrification. The US will be like Brazil or India soon, if this rapid development continues; only two social economic classes, which is poor and rich. What good is progression if the middle class isn’t allowed a fair chance to “catch up” with the cost of living?

    • The problem is too many hands are in developer pockets to slow down any development. If you think mayor Fullflop and his cronies are sitting around discussing how to build up the middle class or slow development, you are dreaming. The more developments he approves, the more kickbacks for him and his councilman. Fullflop’s dream is replacing all the current JC residents with brooklynites. He’s even under investigation by the FBI for his shady dealings with his Rhode Island house. The man is as corrupt as they come! It’s time for new leadership

  4. Considering that the cities that tops this list of best places to drive pretty much is a list of cities I would never wanna live in, Florida, Alabama, Texas, no thank you. I walk, I take public transport, I’m happy more people are biking. The less people use their cars the happier I will be.

  5. What do you expect when Newark and Jersey City, already lacking the wide arteries found in other cities such as Philadelphia and New York, are imposing Road diets. Roads that were four lanes plus parking on each side are now one lane each way with empty bike Lanes!

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