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Daily-travel study: Miami Gardens, NMB ranked worst for commuters

Traffic and daily travel are a nightmare for drivers nearly everywhere in South Florida, but a new study released this week showed that residents in two cities—Miami Gardens and North Miami Beach—have it worse than the rest of the tri-county area.

The personal finance site NerdWallet released a study this week showing that the two cities are the worst for commuters in the tri-county area based on four factors: the price of gas in the city, the cost of car insurance for residents, their commute time and how many people are in the cars on each trip.

John Kuo, who authored the study, said the goal was to educate residents and people considering a move to the area on one of the largest parts of day-to-day life in the city.

“I think one thing people don’t take into account when they’re looking for a place to live is their commute,” Kuo said.

Miami Gardens was chosen as the worst commute based on an average car insurance premium of about $2,300 dollars, according to the site’s insurance comparison tool, and an average commute time of about 30 minutes. The average gas price, based on data from Jan. to Nov. 2014.

Also, more than 80 percent of drivers in the city travel alone. Kuo said they looked at those numbers because more individuals drivers add more cars and more congestion on the road.

“If you don’t have people taking public transportation or carpooling, it seems like a big waste of time and money,” Kuo said.

The other cities in the top five, out of the 26 cities in the study, are North Miami Beach, Homestead, Wellington and Hallandale Beach. The town of Palm Beach was ranked as the best commute.

The study doesn’t account for the recent drop in gas prices—the latest average for regular gas in Miami is about $2.20 according to AAA — but Kuo said the numbers are still relative.

“Someone in Palm Beach is probably still going to be paying more than someone in Miami Beach,” Kuo said.

He said that the decrease in gas prices should also encourage drivers to consider moving to other municipalities with better commutes or to shop around for other insurance providers and plans.

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