Bay Area Commuters Waste 78 Hours a Year Stuck in Traffic: Study

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NBC Bay Area

Traffic congestion nationally reached a new peak last year and is greater than ever before, according to a report by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute and INRIX Inc. Their analysis is based on federal data on the number of cars on the road and on traffic speed data collected by INRIX on 1.3 million miles of urban streets and highways.

Commuters in Washington, D.C., suffer the most, losing an average of 82 hours a year to rush-hour slowdowns, a new study finds. Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York come next on the list of urban areas with the longest delays.

The following are urban areas ranked by the average annual extra hours commuters spend in their cars due to delay, together with the cost in lost time and fuel.

  1. Washington, D.C.-Virginia-Maryland, 82 hours, $1,834
  2. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, 80 hours, $1,711
  3. San Francisco-Oakland, 78 hours, $1,675
  4. New York-Newark, New Jersey-Connecticut, 74 hours, $1,739
  5. San Jose, California, 67 hours, $1,422
  6. Boston-New Hampshire-Rhode Island, 64 hours, $1,388
  7. Seattle, 63 hours, $1,491
  8. Chicago-Indiana, 61 hours, $1,445
  9. Houston, 61 hours, $1,490
  10. Riverside-San Bernardino, California, 59 hours, $1,316
  11. Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, 53 hours, $1,185
  12. Atlanta, 52 hours,$1,130
  13. Detroit, 52 hours, $1,183
  14. Miami, 52 hours, $1,169
  15. Austin, Texas, 52 hours, $1,159
  16. Portland, Oregon, 52 hours, $1,273
  17. Phoenix-Mesa, 51 hours, $1,201
  18. Honolulu, 50 hours, $1,125
  19. Bridgeport-Stamford, Connecticut, 49 hours, $1,174
  20. Denver-Aurora, 49 hours, $1,101
  21. Oklahoma City, 49 hours, $1,110
  22. Philadelphia, 48 hours, $1,112
  23. Baton Rouge, Louisiana, 47 hours, $1,262
  24. Tucson, Arizona, 47 hours, $1,128
  25. Baltimore, 47 hours, $1,115
  26. Minneapolis-St. Paul, 47 hours, $1,035

Cities with fast-growing economies and the most job growth are the most plagued by traffic. Other factors: Urban populations are increasing and lower fuel prices are making driving less expensive, so more people are taking to city roads.

Congestion increased in 61 of the nation's 101 largest cities from 2012 to 2013, the data showed. The following year, nearly all cities - 95 out of 101 - experienced greater congestion.

The national average time that commuters wasted stuck in traffic last year was 42 hours, about the same as in 2007 and more than twice the delay in 1982, when the transportation institute first began assessing urban mobility. But because there are so many more commuters today and far more congestion in off-peak hours, total delay across the country has increased over 2007.

Overall, Americans experienced 6.9 billion hours of traffic delays in 2014 compared to 6.6 billion in 2007 and 1.8 billion in 1982.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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