KIRKLAND, Wash. (Oct. 15, 2014) — Traffic is actually more detrimental to motorists' wallets than their patience, according to a new study.
In 2013, the report claims, traffic congestion robbed the US economy of $124 billion. Without significant action to alleviate congestion, this cost is expected to increase 50 percent to $186 billion by 2030. The cumulative cost over the 17-year period is projected to be $2.8 trillion — the same amount Americans collectively paid in U.S. taxes last year, states a new report by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) and INRIX Inc., a provider of real-time traffic information, transportation analytics and connected driver services.
CEBR and INRIX called the study the first of its kind to quantify the direct impact on drivers in terms of wasted time and fuel as well as indirect costs to U.S. households resulting from businesses passing these same costs on to consumers in the form of higher prices for goods and services.
“The report reveals an ominous forecast for the U.S. if traffic continues to impede the flow of people and commerce to the degree is does today,” said Kevin Foreman, INRIX general manager of GeoAnalytics. “As the economy grows and more people live in urban areas, greater demand is placed on our roads.
“Until we evolve our approach to how we manage our transportation networks, the individual and societal costs are only going to get worse.”
Other key findings of the research include:
• The annual cost of traffic for each American household is $1,700 today and is expected to rise about 2 percent a year through 2030 to $2,300.
• The monetary value of carbon emissions caused by vehicles idling in traffic in 2013 was $300 million. By 2030, this is expected to rise to $538 million, totaling $7.6 billion over the 17-year period.
• As the city with the nation's worst traffic, Los Angeles accounted for nearly 20 percent of the total cost of congestion in the U.S. last year. Gridlock cost LA drivers $23.2 billion in 2013 and is forecasted to grow more than $15 billion to $38.4 billion in 2030.
• Population and GDP growth are predicted to drive U.S. increases in traffic congestion, as well as fuel costs and vehicles on the road. The study predicts 281 million vehicles on U.S. roads by 2030 — an increase of 30 million.
“The key to deterring these cost predictions is developing long-term solutions that enable more efficient usage of our roads,” Mr. Foreman said. “This means creating greater connectivity among vehicles and engineering smarter cities to support this connectivity.”