Traffic congestion is an ever-growing problem across the United States and the world, especially in medium- and large-sized cities. Beyond being a nuisance, congestion takes a tangible toll on drivers; getting caught in traffic repeatedly has obvious financial costs, but it also has physical costs from the stress, such as high blood pressure and weight gain.
The toll isn't just on drivers, either. Economies take a hit because of workers' lost time and resources, and because of citizens avoiding certain areas or businesses that are plagued by traffic trouble. Plus, more drivers on the road means more vehicle emissions, which leads to pollution and other environmental concerns.
Smart Cities Dive compiled some striking numbers that show the impact of traffic congestion on cities and the public.41
The average number of hours a U.S. driver spends caught in traffic each year during peak congestion, generally morning and evening commutes, according to an Inrix global study. The United States ranks as the most congested developed country in the world and has 10 of the world's 25 most congested cities.102
The number of hours that an average Los Angeles resident spent in traffic congestion during peak hours last year. That’s more than the drivers in any other city in the world.$305 billion
The total cost in 2017 to U.S. drivers caught in the peak traffic congestion highlighted in the Inrix study. This includes direct costs to each driver — such as fuel and wasted time — and indirect costs — such as increased costs for businesses that are eventually passed on to consumers.$1,445
The average traffic congestion cost to each U.S. driver last year. Drivers in bigger cities tend to spend more time in traffic and their average annual cost is therefore higher.80%
The amount of drivers who have reportedly felt anger, aggression or road rage while driving in the past year, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Road rage led drivers to yell at other drivers, intentionally tailgate, block other drivers and in the most extreme cases, intentionally ram another vehicle.$8,500
The annual average cost to own a new car according to AAA, taking into account depreciation, fuel, maintenance and repairs. Small sedans are the least expensive vehicles to own, while medium-sized SUVs and pick-up trucks are the most expensive.4.7 metric tons
The amount of carbon dioxide emitted by the average passenger vehicle each year, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. This assumes an average fuel economy of 21.6 miles per gallon for a vehicle driven 11,400 miles each year. Fully electric vehicles have zero carbon emissions.