The data is provided by INRIX, which tracks real-time traffic data.
In an interview, CEO Bryan Mistele said the correlations between worse congestion and better economic indicators is easy to understand.
When more people are buying cars, shopping, and going to work, there are more cars on the road.
While a good sign, more traffic still has its downsides. Wasted fuel and time cost Americans $121 billion in 2011.
The rise in traffic is not equal across the country, INRIX said in a press release. The biggest jump, 15.7% over last year, was recorded in the metropolitan areas in the western U.S. The South is still lagging, with just a 2.4% increase in congestion.
INRIX analyzes congestion levels in metropolitan areas during peak traffic hours. Here's the gridlock chart for the past year:
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