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Cost of US Traffic Congestion Exceeds $166 Billion

Cost of US Traffic Congestion Exceeds $166 Billion

Latest Texas A&M Study Highlights the Strain On America's Highways

Author: Gk Miller/Sunday, August 25, 2019/Categories: Featured, Resources

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Traffic is more than an inconvenience, it is a drain on our economy and productivity.  Congestion now represents an extra 8.8 billion hours wasted at a cost of $166 billion USD, The study found that travelers need 34 minutes for each 20 minute trip to arrive on time.  

The report, one of the the most detailed to examine the effects of traffic on the national economy, includes day of week and time of day data for many of the nations roadways for the last 34 years.  


  • In 1984 congestion represented 1.8 billion miles and was limited to the nations largest metro areas.  The latest data show the 8.8. billion wasted miles is growing almost equally across all sizes of cities.  
  • 3.3 billion gallons of fuel 
  • Trucks account for $21 billion (12 percent) of the cost, much more than their 7 percent of traffic.
  • Consumer delivery trends adding pressure to the traffic problem and will be a greater factor in coming years
  • The average auto commuter spends 54 hours in congestion and wastes 21 gallons of fuel due to
    congestion at a cost of $1,010 in wasted time and fuel.
  • The variation in congestion is often more difficult to deal with than the regular, predictable backups. 
  • To reliably arrive on time for important freeway trips, travelers had to allow 34 minutes to 
    make a trip that takes 20 minutes in light traffic.
  • Growth in employment of 1.9 million jobs is a large factor for increased congestion
  • Download a full copy of the report or for more information and congestion data on your city, see: https://mobility.tamu.edu/umr/.


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2 comments on article "Cost of US Traffic Congestion Exceeds $166 Billion"

Randy J

8/25/2019 10:24 AM

That will pay for a lot of drones! Surprised to see trucks contribute only 7%. It must not account for light duty commercial vehicles that have seen the largest increase in counts over the last 5 years. Uber, DHL, Fedex,Amazon and all the others.


Administrator Account

8/25/2019 10:28 AM

That might be a good point. I suspect the report is using the USDOT commercial truck data which would not include light duty.

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