Traffic Congestion Costs $27 Billion Per Year

Being stuck in traffic is very expensive. In 2011, the United States commercial trucking industry incurred a cost of about $27 billion through a lot of time and fuel wasted through its drivers experiencing traffic congestion in the largest cities.

The impact of traffic congestion on the entire economy in 2011 was a loss of $121 billion through wasted time and fuel. This was an increase of $1 billion from the previous year according to Texas A & M Transportation Institute's Urban Mobility Report which was obtained by the Associated Press.

This study also points out that in 2011 the average American motorist wasted $818 due to being stuck in traffic and that the total amount of gasoline wasted idling in traffic was 2.9 billion gallons, down from 3.2 billion gallons in 2005. Wasted time and fuel was not the only consequence of traffic congestion. Citing the Associated Press study, Bloomberg News reported that the proliferation of vehicles idling in traffic led to an increase of 56 billion pounds of carbon dioxide being emitted.

Washington, D.C. experienced the most congestion. Los Angeles came in second place, the San Francisco-Oakland region came in third place, the New York-Newark region came in fourth place, Boston came in fifth place, Houston came in sixth place, Atlanta came in seventh place, Chicago came in eighth place, Philadelphia came in ninth place and Seattle came in 10th place.

The Washington Post notes that it is important for something to be done to alleviate traffic congestion as more Americans resume driving as a result of the economic recovery that is occurring. An increase of seven hours in traffic and six gallons of gasoline used each year is expected for the average American motorist by 2020.

This estimate led to The American Road & Transportation Builders Association concluding that we must commit to more funds for infrastructure. This group advocates allocating more money toward increasing highway and public transit capacity to speed up the economic recovery and help Americans adapt to the mobility challenges that accompany economic progress.


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