When you read how much money Americans waste by sitting in traffic it might make your blood boil. And it might make you push your state legislators to fight for the appropriate infrastructure investment financing your state needs to get us moving again.
The report from the Texas A&M Transportation Institute earlier this week says traffic congestion costs drivers $121 billion. We spent 5.5 billion additional hours sitting in traffic in 2011, the year covered by the study. That comes down to $818 per commuter in lost time and wasted fuel.
And where would you think the problem is the worst? Los Angeles? New York? No, the worst metro area for traffic congestion is Washington, DC. And I'll bet you that city, probably more than any others, has more people being driven around whose cars and gasoline expenses are paid by us taxpayers too.
What are the top 10 most congested metro areas?
2. Los Angeles
3. San Francisco-Oakland
4. New York-Newark
The environmental folks should pay attention to this too. The study says the additional carbon dioxide emissions from traffic congestion equalled 56 billion pounds nationwide; about 380 pounds per vehicle.
Here's the silver lining: congestion in the U.S. is actually down from its peak in 2005, but the Instutute says that's because of the sluggish economy. With so many Americans without work, or, having left the workforce and giving up the search for work, that reduces the number of commuters and vehicles polluting the air.
Here's the link to the full report:
2012 TTI Urban Mobility Report