U.S. Traffic Congestion Is Confounding & Costly

In 2011, Americans travelled 5.5 billion additional hours and purchased 2.9 billion additional gallons of fuel than in previous years because of congested roadways.

A recent study released by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI), in partnership with INRIX, a leading provider of traffic information, directions and driver services, reports that traffic congestion in the United States is costing the country billons of dollars a year in wasted time and fuel.

The 2012 Urban Mobility Report (UMR) released in December, uses data collected from 2011 statistics. The overriding conclusions are:

  • The congestion problem is huge. In 2011, Americans travelled 5.5 billion additional hours and purchased 2.9 billion additional gallons of fuel than in previous years because of congested roadways. The cost to consumers amounted to $121 billion.
  • In order to arrive on time for important trips, travelers had to allow for 60 minutes to drive a trip that would normally take 20 minutes in light traffic, something that is of particular concern to professional limousine chauffeurs.
  • The peak of congestion over the last several years was in 2005. The 2011 levels are below this peak, but, as the economy is expected to improve, traffic congestion will increase proportionately.

The list of the most congested cities varies from year to year, but the larger cities routinely in the top 10 are:

  • Washington,D.C.
  • Los Angeles
  • San Francisco –Oakland
  • New York,NY –Newark,NJ
  • Boston
  • Houston
  • Atlanta
  • Chicago
  • Philadelphia
  • Seattle

The report also provides a detailed illustration of traffic problems in a total of 498 U.S. urban areas.

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