December 23 2009 by Chris McGinnis
It's no secret that Best Western's most frequent guests spend a lot more time in their cars than they do on airplanes. In a recent survey of participants in the Best Western Diamond 100 advisory board, 63 percent said that nearly all of their business trips are road trips.
That's why I've got two items for my blog this week--both about driving.
First, the IRS recently announced that, starting January 1, 2010 it would lower the standard mileage rate to 50 cents per mile, down from the current 55-cent rate.
The IRS standard mileage rate is the maximum amount you can deduct from your taxes for business use of a personal vehicle. It's also used as a guideline for companies reimbursing employees who use their personal vehicles on company business.
This means that in the coming year you can deduct (or expect to be reimbursed) $200 for a 400-mile road trip in your car, which is down from $220 in 2009.
A company called TomTom, which provides a lot of the data used to power GPS devices in cars and on smartphones, recently released a list of the cities with the worst traffic in the U.S.
In high-traffic cities like this, consider mapping out your hotel and meeting destinations using a GPS device so you're 100% sure you know where you're going. Also, build in extra commute time so you arrive on schedule, and if your destination is easily reachable via public transportation, you may want to skip the drive altogether and take a train, subway or bus.
The list is based on the actual speeds clocked by millions of GPS devices over the last two years. The results reveal some interesting surprises:
- Seattle is the city with the worst traffic in the U.S., with an average of 43% of its roads showing heavy delays. Rounding out the top five cities are Los Angeles (38%), Chicago (37%), San Francisco (35%) and New York (31%).
- The Bay Area of California has the most cities in the top 30, with San Francisco, San Jose (29%) and Oakland (28%).
- The most congested corridor is between Baltimore and Washington, D.C. About 36% of that area's roads, largely in Montgomery County, are congested.
- While New York has many pockets of heavy congestion, it also offers plenty of alternative routes. In fact, cities with fewer options for alternative roads were higher on the list.
- The least congested of the top 30: Minneapolis. Only 17% of the roads there are congested.