Report: Congestion wastes billions of $s, gallons, hours.
Traffic congestion dipped ever so slightly in 2007 — even before the current recession — but don’t take heart, says the Texas Transportation Institute, which studies traffic nationwide. Those maddening traffic jams robbed us of $87.2 billion in wasted fuel and lost work time.
That was more than 2.8 billion gallons of wasted fuel, or three weeks’ worth of gas for all of us drivers. And the time wasted came out to 4.2 bilion hours, or a full work week for every traveler.
All this is in the institute’s Urban Mobility Report 2009.
The dip, as I said, was small. It came to one hour less stuck in traffic and one less gallon of gasoline per driver. But that was “a rare break in near-constant growth in traffic over 25 years,” the institute said.
The American Public Transportation Association jumped on the report, zeroing in on the part that showed how public transportation keeps the problem from becoming even worse. Bus and rail systems saved 646 million hours in travel time and 398 million gallons of fuel, APTA says, taking its information from the report.
“Traffic congestion affects everyone,” APTA President William Millar said in a press release. “It not only wastes peoples’ time and money, but it also hurts our country’s economic productivity, makes us consume more gasoline, and damages our environment.”
The savings are the greatest in the largest urban areas.
In the New York City area, by the way, the cost of congestion grew to $8.18 million from $8.12 million in 2006, even as the hours of delay per person and the “excess fuel consumed” dipped, the report shows. The region, actually listed as the New York-Newark NY-NJ-CT” area, ranked second in the nation in all those categories. To no one’s surprise, the dubious honor of first place goes to the “Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana CA” region.