It's not just the newly-widened 405 Freeway that's more sluggish than it used to be—a 2012 study from the Texas Transportation Institute (via says the LA Times) has found that congestion is up overall on greater LA's roads: the average driver is now spending an extra 61 hours in traffic, second only to the DC area and tied with the San Francisco area. That's the same as in 2010 and four hours slower than 2008, but way down from 2005, when Angelenos were spending 78 extra hours a day in traffic (and lower even than 2000, at 72 hours). The data seems to suggest that, with employment on the rise again, traffic is back up too.
During the recession, there also were fewer trucks on the road than usual and those numbers are still fairly low. Meanwhile, overall commute times for everyone (not just drivers) are getting longer. Between 2009 and 2013, the average commute grew by more than two minutes in LA County, to 27.73 minutes. (Public transit and biking both tend to take longer than driving, so longer travel times can be a good thing; here's the average commute time by neighborhood.) "The best solution to congestion is, unfortunately, unemployment," a transportation consultant and author of a book on the subject says.
· As economy improves, L.A. and O.C. rise in traffic congestion rankings [LAT]
· Mapping the Average Commute Time From Every Part of LA [Curbed LA]
· The Absolute Worst Times to Drive on Every Freeway in LA [Curbed LA]