In Dallas, a car-centric culture nurtured by years of historical development catering to drivers is partly to thank for the abundant highways. And North Texans are, traditionally, more likely to accept a long commute in the first place, largely because of geographical and economic features of the region: People will work where the jobs are, and live where the housing is affordable. Today, Dallas is a booming metroplex with 300 people relocating to Dallas per day and the freeways and the tollways are struggling to keep up with the population growth. Just how bad is traffic in Dallas? Not nearly as bad as it is in places like LA, New York, San Francisco, Chicago and Atlanta, but honestly, it’s not great. We’ve lived here 15 years and we’ve noticed the traffic getting worse each year. But, with some proper planning and awareness of traffic patterns, we have been able to avoid the worst traffic as we navigate Dallas.
I-75 is a Parking During Peak Hours, Everyday
During peak commute hours, you can expect I-75 to a slow down from about I-30 to I-121. I-635 used to be a very busy during peak commute hours. Not anymore. After the completion of expressway on I-635, commuters have an option to pay to skip the crazy traffic on I-635
What are the Other Trouble Traffic Spots in Dallas?
We usually see a back up at I-35E , from President George Bush Turnpike (161) to downtown Dallas. Most freeway interchanges do back up somewhat, because these usually have only 1-2 lanes. In the mornings, traffic is heavy on Dallas North Tollway from 121 to 635 and I-75 going South all the way to I-635.
Beltline Can be a Good Alternate
Because Preston Rd runs from North to South and ends at I-75, it is not as well traveled as I-75. Usually it is only backed up during commute hours, which runs from about 7:30am-9am and then again from about 3:45-6:15pm.
Dallas Traffic Tip: Use East/West Arteries as Much as Possible
If you’re trying to go from East Dallas to Oak Cliff without using the frequently congested I-30, take Columbia Avenue, which turns into Main Street, then Canton Street, then Young Street, then Wood Street, before it deposits you at South Houston Street and the North Zang Boulevard bridge.
Live in Central Dallas
Central Dallas is a good home base for someone who needs to commute north or south. Most people are commuting from North or South Dallas to somewhere Central. If you start Central, you are usually traveling the opposite direction of traffic.
Use Toll Roads As Much as Possible
Yes toll roads are not cheap. But, if your sanity is important, various toll road options will be your go to friends when you have to travel during peak gridlock hours like Friday nights.
Work Remotely or on Flex Hours if You Can
If you have a job where you can work remotely or work flex hours, take advantage. You’ll get more free time and spend less time traveling to and from work if you can work around the peak traffic hours. Even leaving at 7am versus 7:30am, will usually help save you a great deal of drive time.
Live in a Neighborhood Closer to the Freeway Entrance
I spend a lot of time just getting to the freeway. School zone slow downs, traffic lights and one lane roads tend to waste a lot of time. I would cut off a solid 15-25 minutes from my drive time if I lived in a neighborhood that was closer to a freeway entrance. If you want to live on the opposite side of town from where you work, but want to minimize time on the road, focus your search on neighborhoods that have easy access to a freeway entrance.
Live Close To Your Work
Traffic always backs up on North South going freeways like I-75 and DNT. If you stay in cities like Frisco if you work in Plano area, you’ll spend less time in the car.
Where to Live If You Commute to Downtown
Live in South Dallas or Central Dallas - Downtown, Oaklawn, Deep Elum, Medical District or Uptown if you can. Traffic from South Dallas to Downtown is usually lighter than traffic from North Dallas to Downtown.
How to Monitor Traffic When You Don’t Live in Dallas
What I like to do is check Google Maps/Traffic during peak commute hours and plot a commute. If you do this over the course of a few days, you’ll get a good sense for how long it will take you door to door, on average.
Dallas Traffic Eases During Summer Months
When school is out, traffic eases up quite a bit. You don’t sit in school zones, SMU, UNT & UTD students are not clogging up the road and those who can’t stand the heat tend to get out of the city. Those who make their first visit to Dallas during the Summer (especially early August), will not notice as much traffic as those who visit any other time of the year.
Considering a Move to Dallas? Want to Minimize Traffic on Your Commute?
We can help! We know the Dallas area better than any other Dallas Realtor and specialize in buyers who are relocating to Dallas. With just a bit more info from you, we can help recommend areas that fit your needs best. To get started, send us an email at [email protected], fill out our Relocation Questionnaire or call us at (469) 269-6541. We’ll give you honest advice about Dallas that you can use to help make your relocation decision. In the meantime, check out our Guide to Relocating to Dallas. In the meantime, learn more about relocating to Dallas in our Step by Step Guide to Relocating to Dallas and learn more about our home buyer representation program in our Dallas Home Buyers section.