Study Identifies Cause of SF's Traffic Woes: Cars

A new study has identified the cause of traffic jams in San Francisco, and you'll never guess what's to blame: cars.

If you take a car to work, you spend an average of 55 hours every year sitting in traffic. Of course, you're not just slowing yourself down: every car on the road slows down every other one, as well as buses, bikes and deliveries.

Those delays cost the city $2 billion a year, according to another report. That's double what it costs to run Muni.

Drivers also spend $369 each month for gas and expenses, the study says.

San Franciscans all know that the fastest, cheapest way to get around town is by bike, which is why bicycling has skyrocketed in recent years. Still, some people work so far from home that they have no choice but to take a car. Others are just lazy.

The city's doing what it can to reduce the gridlock by taking cars off the road. Employer shuttles, carpools, and even a struggling citywide mass transit system all provide alternatives to single-occupant vehicles.

San Francisco is also considering a study of congestion pricing, which would reduce traffic by encouraging driving at non-peak times and in non-peak locations. The funds raised by the driving toll would go towards improving public transportation, the city claims, but details are still sketchy.

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