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:
- 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.
- Car Sharing: A site like Carma Carpooling enables you to find locals with a similar commute who you can share your ride with.
- 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.
- Telecommuting: remote 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!
- 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.