Commuters in Phoenix are no strangers to bumper-to-bumper traffic. Sure, it’s not Los Angeles, but that doesn’t mean it’s not frustrating—especially during our excessive heat.
And lately, it seems like the traffic is getting much worse. A newly released Texas A&M Transportation Institute study confirms those suspicions. The study shows traffic congestion is up in most cities across the country, including Phoenix.
The study also found the traffic is not just annoying; it’s also costly.
In 2017, drivers in the Phoenix area spent 62 hours—almost eight vacation days—on average of extra travel time because of the congestion, according to the study. Researchers estimate the average driver wasted about 26 gallons of excess fuel waiting in traffic that year.
The study says that wasted time and gas cost the average Phoenix driver $990.
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Researchers linked the worsening traffic with an improving economy. As the U.S. recovered from the 2008 recession, extra travel time for the average commuter started to increase more than one hour every year, according to the study.
The study says as the number of jobs and residents increases, there is an imbalance of supply and demand for transportation capacity, whether it be freeway lanes, bus seats or rail cars.
Based on the current trends, the study estimates the traffic congestion across the country will increase by roughly 20% in 2025.
Here are the five big cities where traffic is worst, according to the study:
- Los Angeles
- San Francisco
- Washington, D.C.
- New York
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