- Chicagoans have a nationally ranked longer commute and some of the worst individual road delays.
- On the top 20 road segments for congestion, Los Angeles took the top three spots, but three spots on the Dan Ryan and Kennedy Expressways ranked as well.
- Travel delays due to traffic congestion caused drivers to waste more than 3 billion gallons of fuel and kept travelers stuck in their cars for nearly 7 billion extra hours – 42 hours per rush-hour commuter.
If you live in the Chicago area and commute to work, you’re not imagining that you have a longer drive.
Chicagoans have a nationally ranked longer commute, in fact. And, some of the worst individual road delays in the country.
According to the 2015 Urban Mobility Scorecard, compiled by traffic information technology company INRIX and the Texas A&M Transportation Institute, Chicago-area commuters stand at eighth place on the top ten list of the most hours wasted in traffic each year.
Think the slide in gas prices is at least easing that pain? Not so much.
The report quantifies that, even though the price of gas has gradually descended in the past few years, we’re burning up any savings during traffic congestion.
Overall, Washington, D.C., has the worst roads, with the average commuter spending 82 hours per year stuck in traffic. Los Angeles, with 80 hours, and San Francisco, with 78 hours, round out the top three.
On the top 20 road segments for congestion, Los Angeles took the top three spots, but three spots on the Dan Ryan and Kennedy Expressways ranked as well. The No. 4 spot went to I-90/94 heading west, from 35th to the Edens junction.
The Chicago area landed two more spots on the top 20 for parts of I-290, the Eisenhower Expressway.
And, the report said, drivers on just America’s Top 10 worst roads waste on average 84 hours or 3.5 days a year on average in gridlock – twice the national average.
Americans drove more than 3 trillion miles in the last 12 months, says the US Department of Transportation. That’s a new record, eclipsing the 2007 peak. If the economy keeps on humming, the prognosticators who write the report expect that the traffic tension will continue.
By 2020, the report predicts:
- Annual delay per commuter will grow from 42 hours to 47 hours.
- Total delay nationwide will grow from 6.9 billion hours to 8.3 billion hours.
- The total cost of congestion will jump from $160 billion to $192 billion.
The authors of the report suggest that there won’t be a quick fix for this growing problem. More roadway and transit investment is needed, but added capacity alone can’t solve congestion problems.
And, in cities with mass transit infrastructure already in place, that resource needs tending to as well.
Solutions must involve a variety of initiatives, including new construction, more efficiency and transportation options. Flexible work schedules are suggested as well.
Even though the report authors attribute a better economy and lower gas prices to the increase in time behind the wheel, all the time spent idling still hits the pocketbook hard. Travel delays due to traffic congestion caused drivers to waste more than 3 billion gallons of fuel and kept travelers stuck in their cars for nearly 7 billion extra hours – 42 hours per rush-hour commuter.
The total nationwide average fuel price tag for all that waste: $160 billion, or $960 per commuter.
Findings in the 2015 Urban Mobility Scorecard are drawn from traffic speed data collected by INRIX on 1.3 million miles of urban streets and highways in 471 urban areas.
The extensive report, with data available back into the 80s, is available at mobility.tamu.edu