Traffic is frustrating wherever it arises. For regular commuters in some of the biggest cities in the nation, however, sitting in traffic can be costing them a lot of money and time – and, in the bigger picture, it is costing the U.S. significantly on annual basis.
Looking to evaluate just where the biggest traffic problems in the U.S. are – and just how much they are costing Americans – researchers at the American Highway Users Alliance (AHUA) recently ranked the worst traffic jams in the nation, based on their analysis of various data collected by federal regulators (including crash and speed data from the Federal Highway Association, various states’ departments of transportation (DOTs), etc.).
And here’s what they found…
Where Commuters Face the Worst Traffic
- Chicago’s Kennedy Expressway (I-90) – The 12-mile stretch between Roosevelt Road and the Jane Byrne Interchange reportedly drains motorists of about 17 million hours each year, with the total costs associated with these delays being about $418 million annually.
- Los Angeles – In fact, Los Angeles is home to the areas that ranked 2nd to 7th in this study, with the specific problematic regions being on the I-405 in Seal Beach and Orange County. When the total losses for all of the traffic bottlenecks in Los Angeles are added up, the cost motorists about 44 million hours of lost time, the financial costs of which are an estimated $1.17 billion annually.
- New York Metro Area – Areas in New York took the 8th and 9th spots for worst traffic jams in the U.S., with these regions being the Lincoln Tunnel and the Cross Manhattan Expressway. The total losses from these regions include about 6.4 million hours of lost time, costing a total of $169 million each year.
- Austin’s I-35, between East Dean Keeton and east Riverside Drive – The total losses associated with this traffic bottleneck include about 3 million hours of lost time, for a total cost of about $73 million annually.
While the study went on to rank the top 50 worst traffic jams in the U.S., researchers pointed out, in the conclusion of this study, that if the right efforts were made to address and resolve the top 30 traffic bottlenecks in the U.S.:
- About $2.4 billion could be saved in the U.S. annually (when adding the costs of lost fuel, lost productivity, etc.).
- Motorists would regain about 1 million hours of lost time (on an annual basis).
- About 9,800 traffic accidents could be avoided each year.
- Annually, about 35 million gallons of gas could be saved, and about 740 million pounds of CO2 emissions could be prevented from being released into the environment.
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