The good news is, the economy is improving…

January 20, 2011

If there is a positive aspect to a sluggish economy – and certainly there aren’t many – it’s that tough times tend to ease traffic congestion. This was the case in 2007 and 2008, according to the Texas Transportation Institute at Texas A&M University, which this week released its 2010 Urban Mobility Report.

Conversely, economic recovery typically means increased traffic congestion. The TTI report provides this good news/bad news nugget, noting that after two years of slight declines in overall traffic congestion, congestion began to grow again in 2009.

The report says that, measured in 2009 dollars, the cost of congestion has risen from $24 billion in 1982 to $115 billion in 2009. Additionally, the total amount of wasted fuel in 2009 topped 3.9 billion gallons – equal to 130 days of flow in the Alaska Pipeline.

To the average commuter, the cost of congestion was $808 in 2009, compared to an inflation-adjusted $351 in 1982, and the average annual total of time wasted sitting in traffic was 34 hours in 2009, up from 14 hours in 1982.

For the TTI news release and links to the report, appendices, FAQs and congestion data regarding individual cities, click here.

NEXT: A look at Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Allentown/Bethlehem

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