The Washington region’s drivers share top honors with Chicago commuters for wasting the most time stuck in traffic in 2009, according to a survey released Thursday.

That’s an average of 70 hours stuck in traffic per year, according to the Texas Transportation Institute’s annual report.

Washington rarely fares well in the survey, but Los Angeles has frequently earned the honor of worst traffic tie-ups. The latest survey, using 2009 data, now uses additional information from INRIX, a private-sector provider of travel time information.

The report, though, has prompted advocacy groups to point out how the problem highlights the need for more public transportation and better urban planning.

The American Public Transportation Association highlights that public transportation in the Washington region saved locals 34,119,772 hours of time and saved 24 million gallons of fuel.

 “Clearly, even if you don’t ride public transportation, it is still in your best interest to support investment in public transit,” President William Millar said.  “Better public transportation in your community means less congestion on the roads.”

Meanwhile, the Coalition for Smarter Growth says the report itself does damage for failing to recognize the causes of the traffic and causes officials to “throw more money” at the problem. 

“Our nation is broke – we cannot afford to try to build out way out of congestion,” said Stewart Schwartz, the nonprofit’s executive director.  “We need fundamental reform in our approach and it starts with better land use and community designs that reduce the amount and distance people have to drive, and linking transit and development.”