Photo: Oran Viriyincy/Flickr
A new report looks at how many extra hours motorists in America are spending on the road, and the results are potentially soul-crushing.
Nationwide, drivers were collectively delayed by 7 billion hours last year, according to Texas A&M Transportation Institute and Inrix’s 2015 Urban Mobility Scorecard.
This works out to an average national commute time that is more than double what it was in 1982.
“Our growing traffic problem is too massive for any one entity to handle — state and local agencies can’t do it alone,” said Tim Lomax, a Regents Fellow at TTI and co-author of the report, in a news release.
The city that saw the longest delays for motorists was Washington, DC, where drivers were behind the wheel for an extra 82 hours, or nearly three and a half days.
Three of the worst five urban areas on the list are in California, with Los Angeles County-Anaheim and San Francisco-Oakland seeing potentially road-rage inducing delays of 80 and 78 hours, respectively, and San Jose rounding out the top five at 67 hours.
The New York region, including Newark, placed fourth, keeping commuters strapped into the driver’s seat for an extra 74 hours.
In all, the report looked at 471 urban areas.
Nationally, all these delays come at a cost of $160 billion nationwide in the extra gas guzzled during prolonged commutes.
Worse still for drivers, the scorecard forecasts that with a good economy for the rest of this decade things will only get considerably worse by 2020 if “more assertive” efforts aren’t made to curb congestion.
The scorecard outlines a number of possible ways to reduce congestion. Creating toll lanes and alternate routes, building denser developments that lend themselves to walking and walking, and improving public transportation were among the suggestions.
More flexible work hours would also go a ways to reducing congestion by reducing rush-hour influx the 9-to-5 grind incurs.
The reports forecasts for 2020 suggest action would be prudent. The scorecard expects to see the annual delay climb to 47 hours, up from 42 hours; the total delay nationwide reach 8.3 billion hours, up from the present 6.3 billion; and this will result in costs reaching a whopping $192 billion, up from $160 billion.
“This problem calls for a classic ‘all-hands-on-deck’ approach,” said Lomax in the release.
Check out a rundown of some of city’s that give motorists the worst headaches: