Solutions Needed to Ease $121 Billion in Traffic Costs

Feb 6, 2013

Traffic congestion across the nation is at an all time high and will only get worse, according to a new study by Texas A&M Transportation Institute.

An annual study of national driving patterns reveals that Americans spent 5.5 billion additional hours sitting in traffic in 2011. The total cost of congestion in wasted time and fuel was $121 billion, up $1 billion from 2010. That works out to an average of $818 for every American.

Topping the worst-in-the-nation honors when it comes to congestion? Washington D.C., home to the president and Congress. Commuters there needed almost three hours for a trip that should take 30 minutes without traffic, according to the report. Rounding out the top ten most congested cities in 2011 were Los Angeles, San Francisco-Oakland, New York-Newark, Boston, Houston, Atlanta, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Seattle.

The study looked at how much extra time drivers give themselves to reach their destination when driving during rush hour. On average, Americans budgeted for one hour of driving time for a trip that would take 20 minutes without traffic.

So how do we reduce congestion?  According to Jim Bak, a spokesman for Inrix, who partnered on the study: “There technology and the tools are there."  Options include GPS systems that provide real-time traffic information and electronic tolling lanes such as the I-495 HOT Lanes project.

These themes and others will be explored at the Let’s Rebuild America Transportation Infrastructure Summit at the U.S. Chamber headquarters on February 13.

The Summit will gather leaders and experts from all sectors of transportation and water infrastructure to explore current and future challenges and highlight promising solutions from the private sector.

At the summit, the Chamber will unveil priorities for newly elected federal officials and speakers will address the big three issues that will make or break the future of competitive public infrastructure in the United States: the plans, the partnerships, and the “pay-fors.”

Register and view the agenda

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