In February 2017, INRIX Global produced the global Traffic Scorecard for 2016. The scorecard analyzes and ranks the impact of traffic congestion in 1,064 cities – 240 in the U.S. – across 38 countries, making it the largest ever study of traffic congestion.
Soooo.. How did we do? As a country, not so good. However that might be because as a country we are doing well…or maybe not. Let’s take a look:
The U.S. ranked as the first most congested developed country in the world, with drivers spending an average of 42 hours a year in traffic during peak hours. The scorecard also includes the direct and indirect costs of congestion to all U.S. drivers, which amounted to nearly $300 billion in 2016, an average of $1,400 per driver.
Ok, well how could this be good in any sense? Well these hours are indicative of a stable economy and employment growth. However, these conditions are also indicative of low gas prices, fixed roadway space, and increased urbanization, which are all struggles for our environment and infrastructural struggles.
At the end of the day, Congestion is in fact bad for all – it costs our country hundreds of billions of dollars, threatens future economic growth and lowers our quality of life, according to senior INRIX economist, Bob Pishue.
We all know LA is infamous for it’s congestion, but let’s look at the numbers. Los Angeles tops the list of the world’s most gridlocked cities, with drivers spending 104 hours in congestion in 2016 during peak time periods. This is more than double the nation’s average and 13 hours more than the next highest city – Moscow at 91 hours. In Los Angeles, this congestion cost local drivers $2,408 each! For the city as a whole, it cost $9.6 billion from direct and indirect costs. Direct costs relate to the value of fuel and time wasted, and indirect costs refer to freight and business fees from company vehicles idling in traffic, which are passed on to households through higher prices.
What can we do?
According to INRIX, “using big data and technology to improve operations of existing roadways offers a more immediate impact on traffic flows and mobility while transportation officials explore strategic capital investments.” Here at Green Commuter we are working on using technology and innovative shared transportation options such as vanpooling to work and car sharing throughout the nights and weekends to reduce on road vehicles and parking needs all in zero emissions electric vehicles.