The Annual Cost of U.S. Traffic Congestion – $160 Billion [Free Infographic]

US Traffic Congestion


It’s accu­rate to say that nobody likes a traffic jam. Unfor­tu­n­a­tely, a further fact is that traffic conges­tion costs us immen­sely. To give an example, American fami­lies spend 19c out of every $1 on trans­port, which is more than food and health­care combined. Despite these large costs and a general into­le­rance for traffic jams, the cost of U.S. traffic conges­tion is conti­nuing to grow each year sugges­ting that little is being done to combat it. It seems we have almost come to accept traffic conges­tion and turn a blind eye to its growing costs.

For example, here are some stag­ge­ring facts on the cost of U.S. traffic congestion:

  • Traffic jams resulted in 6.9 billion hours of delayed person-hours in 2014
  • Last year, Ameri­cans lost $160 billion to traffic conges­tion – this will increase to $192 billion by 2020.
  • Drivers in U.S cities spent 42 hours a year in traffic jams i.e. an entire work-week!

U.S. Traffic Congestion Infographic

The above numbers, which are far from posi­tive, were released last month by the Texas A&M Trans­por­ta­tion Insti­tute and INRIX in a report on urban car commuting.

Following on from the release of this data, we have produced a new info­gra­phic (please find below), which visually displays the growing costs of traffic conges­tion on the U.S. economy as well as the environment.

Take a look at the U.S. Traffic Conges­tion info­gra­phic below and please feel free to share it. The embed code is avail­able below the infographic.

Traffic Congestion is Killing Us

The info­gra­phic below demons­trates not only how much conges­tion costs ever­yone, but also that the costs are expected to increase. While some may think that driving by car is unavo­idable and that traffic jams are simply “one of those things”, consider this:

If 10% of Ameri­cans would take public trans­port on a regular basis, the country’s reli­ance on foreign oil would drop by over 40% – this equates to the amount of oil which is imported annu­ally from Saudi Arabia!

Further­more there are the health impli­ca­tions. As shown in the info­gra­phic, 44% of all carbon dioxide emis­sions in the U.S. come as a result of cars. Air pollu­tion kills about 7 million people each year world­wide, almost 4 million of which die from outdoor air pollu­tion, making it the biggest envi­ron­mental health risk.

Traffic is not only costing us – it’s killing us.

5 Quick Tips for Beating Traffic Congestion

There are options avail­able today, many of which are aided by tech­no­logy, which we can use to avoid the bumper-to-bumper grind:

  1. Public Trans­port: as shown in the info­gra­phic, public trans­port saves us millions. Try an app, like City­mapper, with real-time updates to find the quickest or chea­pest route via bus, train, tram, etc.
  2. Car Sharing: A site like Carma Carpoo­ling enables you to find locals with a similar commute who you can share your ride with.
  3. Traffic Apps: when driving is a must, down­load Waze to your smart­phone for live turn-by-turn infor­ma­tion to beat the traffic. With over 50 million users, Waze is the go-to app for avoiding conge­sted areas.
  4. Telecom­mu­tingremote working is on the rise. Discuss with your employer if you can work from home occa­sio­nally. Eradi­ca­ting the commute will in effect mean less wasted office hours. Plus, you start your day stress-free!
  5. Cycling: No emis­sions, no stress, and no conges­tion. There is no such thing as a “cycling jam”. TIME evaluated the best U.S. cities to cycle to work.

Consider how you can reduce traffic conges­tion for the sake of your wallets and for saving time. If you have any other sugges­tions for avoiding and batt­ling traffic conges­tion than those listed above, please leave a comment below.

US Traffic Congestion Infographic

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