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Traffic Costs Time And Money [VIDEO/AUDIO/POLL]

Traffic is not just a hassle. A new study finds it can be a time-consuming and costly part of your life.

Flickr User Raleene

A newly-released study from the Texas Transportation Institute finds commuters in the metro New York/Newark/NJ/Connecticut area spend an additional 59 hours in their cars every year-stuck in traffic.

The annual Urban Mobility Report found even the amount of time for any given trip is becoming more unpredictable, with congestion increasing not only in our work commute, but weekend and personal trips as well.

Drivers commuting in or out of the northern part of the Garden State Parkway should add 88 minutes to many routine 20-minute trips, if they want to arrive on time 19 out of 20 times, warns the study.

The New York/New Jersey metro area ranked third in the report’s “Planning Travel Index.” Washington DC and was the worst in terms of planning ahead, followed by the Los Angeles-Metro area, with drivers needing 114 and 99 minutes, respectively.

The aforementioned figures apply to limited access roads, such as interstate highways, some toll roads and other roads that do not have traffic signals.

The congestion doesn’t just translate to time spent in the car, but also money leaving your pocket. North Jersey and Metro drivers burned an average 28 gallons of gas stuck in traffic, second overall.

The cost extends beyond the pump, since time spent going nowhere on the road equals more wear and tear on the vehicle and less time the driver could be productive at work. The study finds for the NY/NJ/Newark/CT drivers, they spent 1,281 annually for their commutes, which ranked third overall.

Commuters in South Jersey and Philly have a slightly easier time, but not by too much. The report shows they spend roughly 48 hours annually in traffic and have to plan up to 69 minutes ahead for a 20 minute trip during peak hours. They also burn off an additional 23 gallons of fuel, which in addition to wear and tear and productivity means they spend 1,018 dollars annually.

The report analyzes congestion patterns in 498 of the nation’s urban areas to try to give motorists and shippers reliable driving times.

For the study, the Institute used data from INRIX, a traffic reporting service, the U.S. Transportation Department and State Transportation Departments.


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