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Commuters' Wasted Time in Traffic Costs $121 Billion

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http://news.yahoo.com/commuters-wasted-time-traffic-costs-121b-060227096.html

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — An annual study of national driving patterns shows that Americans spent 5.5 billion additional hours sitting in traffic in 2011.

 

The Texas A&M Transportation Institute released a report Tuesday that found Americans are adapting to road congestion by allowing, on average, an hour to make a trip that would take 20 minutes without traffic. The Urban Mobility Report also says clogged roads cost Americans $121 billion in time and fuel in 2011.

 

It also determined that the 10 most congested cities are Washington, Los Angeles, San Francisco-Oakland, New York-Newark, Boston, Houston, Atlanta, Chicago, Philadelphia and Seattle.

 

The report is one of the key tools used by experts to solve traffic problems. But the institute advises that every community has unique challenges and require different, multi-faceted approaches to solving congestion.

This may be relevant in the argument between mass transit versus personal transit. In certain cities, it would appear that the mass transit to personal transit ratio isn't high enough.
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I'm really suprised with  Philadelphia being up there as one of the most congested cities in the A & M Transportation Institute report. I had my hooptie forerunner going places in the city of brotherly love during my stay in Pittsburgh, PA to take care of my sick stepdad for 3 years (God is with him now, miss the man). The congestion was really not that bad at all (well compared to Midtown Manhattan as peacemak3r was saying). But this was 7 years ago. I think I used SEPTA only ONCE and that was only because I wanted to railfan for the heck of it. It was fun BTW.

Edited by realizm

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Well circumstances with the lack of public transportation in Pittsburgh and in other cities in other states can be very unforgiving. I had no choice but to own a car and drive everywhere while I was living out of state in Penn State and Maryland.

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As more of the Americans are employed in the services fields, versus manufacturing like in old days, the need for commercial traffic has increased, that is why majority of the cars in downtown and midtown are with commercial plates. This is where public transit can do very little, because one can't take tools of his trade with him/her to the bus or the subway, you just can't take hundreds of pounds of material to deliver by taking a trolley. The point is, some of the traffic will be there inevitably, it is necessary for proper function of our economy. I know few people who have to drive because they serve tri-state area on daily basis, the car is backbone to their job and they will be happy to dump the car in favor of subway if the adequate job substitute was there.

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I'm really suprised with  Philadelphia being up there as one of the most congested cities in the A & M Transportation Institute report. I had my hooptie forerunner going places in the city of brotherly love during my stay in Pittsburgh, PA to take care of my sick stepdad for 3 years (God is with him now, miss the man). The congestion was really not that bad at all (well compared to Midtown Manhattan as peacemak3r was saying). But this was 7 years ago. I think I used SEPTA only ONCE and that was only because I wanted to railfan for the heck of it. It was fun BTW.

Every time I've been to Philly, traffic took up most of the trip. Never in my life have I sat in so much traffic. The BQE seems empty compared to the highways there. You know it's bad when a lady can do her makeup in full. And I'm not joking.

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It got worse since I was in Pennsylvania 7 years ago? I hear you. I'll admit though I usually used to drive there at night or weekends to chill due to constraints of the job to support dad and myself in Pittsburgh which is a 8 hour drive to Philly. Guess I was fortunate enough to avoid the peak traffic times on the Pensylvania Turnpike then the local thruways there to get to my destinations.

 

Now that I think about it, I used to work nights, not days, for RR Donnelly in Pensylvania and so that then explains right there why I did not experience what you observed firsthand since I was driving in off peak direction on the highways.

Edited by realizm

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To clarify, I used to work nights, rotating shifts (three 12 hour day shifts to four 12 hour shifts giving me three days off then four days off and so forth, nurses have similar type shifts), so that's why I was accustomed to drive at night. Fortunately for me now that you are telling me about how hectic it really is on the highway in Philly I am glad I only visit the city not actually work there. I can tell you for sure though that it can get suprisingly congested in greater Pittsburgh, bumper to bumper during rush hours and midday.
 

@ Shortline Bus: I dont get it with Texas not being listed either, does'nt the cost of travel in Dallas alone amount to I think 3.2 billion dollars?

Edited by realizm

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But, Public Transportation is the solution

 

Highway congestion can be prevented if people actually knew how to freakin' drive.  But coming as a New York driver's perspective, we're pretty reckless and impatient.

 

Public transportation may be a solution, it isn't THE solution though.  Seriously what are buses going to do?  Create more traffic.  Though creating rail lines may in the long term turn down traffic.  Still I'd say 75% of people would still favor cars over public transportation..(Or at least 75% of the people I know.) 

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Highway congestion can be prevented if people actually knew how to freakin' drive.  But coming as a New York driver's perspective, we're pretty reckless and impatient.

 

Public transportation may be a solution, it isn't THE solution though.  Seriously what are buses going to do?  Create more traffic.  Though creating rail lines may in the long term turn down traffic.  Still I'd say 75% of people would still favor cars over public transportation..(Or at least 75% of the people I know.) 

 

Welcome to North America, where we worship cars and look down on public transit.

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Welcome to North America, where we worship cars and look down on public transit.

 

 

Shut up, you live in Canada... but it's true

Edited by Quill Depot
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The point of getting people to use mass transit is to get them off cars, at least to work.

 

Hey, look, in theory, buses and trains should get people away from cars, meaning the less cars, the less traffic. Just imagine how much traffic there would be if the transit system didn't exist, or if only cars existed!

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Welcome to North America, where we worship cars and look down on public transit.

 

Actually this brings a bell of truth. Look what happened historically under Robert Moses and how it drastically affected the initiative for better mass transit in this great city.

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First of all, when you disagree with someone there is a polite way of saying so. "Shut up" is not one of those ways.

 

Second of all, I said NORTH America. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_North_American_countries

 

He's 12...let him absorb some geography lessons first.

 

The point of getting people to use mass transit is to get them off cars, at least to work.

 

Hey, look, in theory, buses and trains should get people away from cars, meaning the less cars, the less traffic. Just imagine how much traffic there would be if the transit system didn't exist, or if only cars existed!

 

I can somewhat agree, mass transit should alleviate at least rush hour traffic.

 

Secondly on a world with no transit system, it would equal Sunday drivers throughout the week and we all know how most Sunday drivers are. 

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Highway congestion can be prevented if people actually knew how to freakin' drive.  But coming as a New York driver's perspective, we're pretty reckless and impatient.

 

Sadly, many people drive like chickens with their heads cut off. The 401 in Toronto is particularly bad for this - one guy swerves and the entire f**king highway comes to a standstill.

 

Until people learn to drive, I would take public transit any day of the week.

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I'm really suprised with  Philadelphia being up there as one of the most congested cities in the A & M Transportation Institute report. I had my hooptie forerunner going places in the city of brotherly love during my stay in Pittsburgh, PA to take care of my sick stepdad for 3 years (God is with him now, miss the man). The congestion was really not that bad at all (well compared to Midtown Manhattan as peacemak3r was saying). But this was 7 years ago. I think I used SEPTA only ONCE and that was only because I wanted to railfan for the heck of it. It was fun BTW.

Err they barely have any highways directly into philly their highway network is shit what you expect. You know it's bad when it's faster to take a local train and a bus that is sad. But every time I use SEPTA on I-76 it's decent the bus flies even though it's crushed most of the time.

 

Well circumstances with the lack of public transportation in Pittsburgh and in other cities in other states can be very unforgiving. I had no choice but to own a car and drive everywhere while I was living out of state in Penn State and Maryland.

err you do realize buses have their private roadways just use those buses they have an extensive BRT network.

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err you do realize buses have their private roadways just use those buses they have an extensive BRT network.

 

You need to understand something: Buses in PGH usually ran at 15 to 20 min minute sometimes 45 min headways. Much of the network with dedicated lanes was still under construction in 2008 when I moved back to Brooklyn. And if I had a 4 x 4 why would I even bother using the bus there to begin with with the long headways back then when the BRT there only began to be opened for revenue service?

Edited by realizm
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Those who think that an army of cars can efficiently replace a bus or train any day should think about it carefully:

  • A car is about 33% to 50% wasted space—33% if you don't count legroom as wasted space. That wasted space extends from your windshield to the license plate on the front. That space could have seated 4 to 6 people.
  • Every single car comes with its own independent parts (engines, wheels, batteries, etc.). For a machine that only works for the benefit of up to 6 to 8 people at a time (usually 1 or 2 in practice) the people to parts ratio is incredibly low. That's pretty wasteful.
  • A car needs to be maneuvered by a person (for now anyway). Given a dozen cars and a bus, each transporting an identical amount of people, the party of cars needs more people to drive. A bus needs only one. A single driver doesn't have to contend with himself, but with a dozen drivers, the probability of conflict increases.
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Err they barely have any highways directly into philly their highway network is shit what you expect. You know it's bad when it's faster to take a local train and a bus that is sad. But every time I use SEPTA on I-76 it's decent the bus flies even though it's crushed most of the time.

 

And as I said in my next posts I usually only needed to drive to Phillie in off peak direction. I only used to go to the city at night or weekends.

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If I'm on a bus that's stuck in traffic i'm also a part of this $121 billion as well, so I don't see why cars are taking up so much of the discussion here and also $121 billion is about 1% of U.S. GDP if that. Not a big deal.

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err you do realize buses have their private roadways just use those buses they have an extensive BRT network.

 

 

You need to understand something: Buses in PGH usually ran at 15 to 20 min minute sometimes 45 min headways. Much of the network with dedicated lanes was still under construction in 2008 when I moved back to Brooklyn. And if I had a 4 x 4 why would I even bother using the bus there to begin with with the long headways back then when the BRT there only began to be opened for revenue service?

 

*Correction on post - moved in 2006, not 2008, 7 years ago since the BRT discussed was still being built.

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