With crowded intersections like Kino Parkway and East 22nd Street, Tucson is ranked 15th nationally in traffic congestion, ahead of Phoenix (No. 45), according to a TomTom study.

Ron Medvescek / Arizona Daily Star 2012

If you’ve ever sat at a congested Tucson intersection and thought “at least our traffic isn’t as bad as Phoenix,” you might want to think again.

TomTom, a Dutch-based company that manufactures mapping and navigation products, last week released its annual traffic index, which analyzes traffic congestion in 53 metropolitan areas in the United States and 186 cities worldwide.

Out of 53 cities, the index determined that Tucson is the 15th-most congested city in the country.

That’s right, 15th.

According to the study, Tucson has more traffic congestion than places such as Philadelphia, Dallas, San Diego and, of all places, Phoenix, which was 45th.

However, we still don’t compare to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Honolulu, Seattle and San Jose, the top five most congested cities on the list.

But you’re still probably wondering how a place with two interstates and no other real freeways has more congestion than some cities with several freeways and at least twice as many people.

The study analyzes traffic patterns on local roads and highways, meaning this company somehow knows it can take several traffic light cycles to get through a major Tucson intersection during rush hour on some days.

The index highlighted some interesting trends from 2013, when the company conducted the study:

  • Tucson drivers experience a delay of 19 minutes per hour driven during the peak period.
  • Those of us with a 30-minute commute endure a delay of 55 hours per year.
  • The best weekly commuting times during rush hour were Friday mornings and Monday evenings.
  • The worst weekly commuting periods were Tuesday mornings and Thursday evenings.

And the most congested day of 2013 wasn’t Black Friday, the first day of classes at the University of Arizona or another similarly busy time.

It was Valentine’s Day.

Lastly, if you think you can save time by cutting through neighborhoods and using side streets, you might want to reconsider.

Nationwide, drivers who take shortcuts actually add 50 percent more travel time to their trips, according to the study.

So the next time you’re waiting in a long line of cars at a traffic light, you should have plenty of time to think of other reasons Tucson isn’t as bad as Phoenix.

Down the road

The Arizona Department of Transportation will reduce Interstate 10 to a single lane in each direction today and Tuesday to install rumble strips on a newly constructed three-mile segment east of Tucson.

The closures will last from 4:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on both days in the area between milepost 289, at Cienega Creek, and the Marsh Station traffic interchange.

Rumble strips are grooves in the highway shoulders that alert motorists who have strayed from the travel lane.

The posted speed limit will be 45 mph.

For more information on traffic conditions around the state, go to www.az511.gov or call 511.

Send your Road Q questions by email to roadrunner@azstarnet.com or to 4850 S. Park Ave., Tucson, AZ 85714. Please include first and last names.