Traffic can add more time to your commute going to and from work, which causes you to allow more time for your commute. Despite advances in public transportation and ride sharing, expansion of bicycle lanes and bike rentals, and additional pedestrian programs, highway congestion remains crippling in our nation’s largest cities, with commuters wasting an aggregate of eight billion extra hours stuck in traffic last year. That’s nearly 50 hours per driver, which accounts for more than a week’s vacation days.
Personally, we’d rather spend that time at some posh resort sipping fruity cocktails with tiny umbrellas than fighting our way to and from the office.
According to the annual Traffic Scorecard compiled by the connected car services company INRIX in Kirkland, WA, the most artery-clogged municipality in America is Los Angeles. Commuters in the City of Angels spent an extra 81 hours sitting behind the wheel in rush hour congestion last year, compared to the (hypothetical) periods during which traffic is moving freely. Also considering European cities, only London suffers worse traffic than the top-ranked U.S. cities with a stultifying 101 hours crawling along in traffic per commuter.
INRIX says the U.S. leads a long list of countries surveyed in terms of wasted time behind the wheel, beating such car-clogged European burgs as Belgium (44 hours), the Netherlands (39 hours), Germany (38 hours), Luxembourg (33 hours), Switzerland (30 hours), the United Kingdom (30 hours), and France (28 hours). U.S.A! – We’re number one!
Since every silver lining inevitably comes wrapped within a cloud, INRIX notes that the cities riding the gravy train of economic expansion are ultimately paying the steepest price in terms of traffic congestion. (Perhaps if more workers actually took that gravy train to work instead of driving there’d be less congestion, but we digress…) Aside from additional commuting time, more traffic means reduced productivity, more tailpipe emissions spewed into the atmosphere, and considerably more stress borne by commuters. Pass the Prozac, please.