COLLEGE STATION, TEXAS – The 2011 Urban Mobility Report (UMR), published by the Texas Transportation Institute at Texas A&M, studied the effects of traffic congestion on businesses and commuters in the U.S. in 2010.
For example, the cost of congestion was more than $100 billion in 2010, which is nearly $750 for every commuter in the U.S. Also, traffic congestion is growing beyond “rush hour,” with about 40 percent of the delay occurring in the mid-day and overnight hours. “Rush hour” now lasts six hours. The report said this is creating an increasingly serious problem for businesses that rely on efficient production and deliveries. The time delay the average commuter experienced was 34 hours, up from 14 hours in 1982.
The study also predicts that as the economy recovers, traffic problems will only get worse. The report says it expects the average commuter to see an estimated additional 3 hours of delay by 2015 and 7 hours by 2020. By 2015, the cost of gridlock will rise from $101 billion to $133 billion, which is more than $900 for every commuter. The amount of wasted fuel will jump from 1.9 billion gallons to 2.5 billion gallons.
The UMR uses traffic volume data from the states and traffic speed data from INRIX, a private-sector provider of travel time information. The report covers traffic problems in 439 U.S. urban areas.
Actions businesses can take, according to the report, include telecommuting and more flexible work hours. The study cautions that there is no single solution to the problem, and that it will require coordinating traffic management, signal coordination, and rapid crash removal, along with better land use and development patterns.
You can read the full report here.