Sitting stopped in congested traffic might be one of the most frustrating feelings imaginable. You’re trapped in your car unsure when things might pick up again, when all you really want is to get to your destination. Not only is this exasperating, it might be costing us all a huge pile of money.
A study from the Centre for Economics and Business Research and the company Inrix Inc claims to be the first to assess the “economic and environmental costs of US traffic.” It reports that cumulatively between 2013 and 2030 traffic congestion could cost the US $2.8 trillion (graph right).
According to the study’s calculations, Americans wasted wasted $124 billion sitting in traffic in 2013 and it cost the average household $1,700. Los Angles drivers had it the worst with $23.2 billion lost, nearly a fifth of the national total. The average drivers sat in 65 hours of traffic during the year. By 2030, the national figure is predicted to increase by about 50 percent to $186 billion squandered in gridlock annually.
Inrix claims that the amounts are based on an analysis of direct costs like people’s wasted time and fuel and indirect factors like the higher price of goods that congestion causes. It also predicts there being 30 million more vehicles on the roads over the next 17 years.
The study’s conclusion somewhat mirrors another analysis predicting increases in traffic for certain areas around the country. However, other recent evaluations find people to generally be driving less, especially the young.
Inrix is a company that collects driving data and sells transportation inspiration services to automakers and cities.