The Texas A&M Transportation Institute last month issued its 2019 Urban Mobility Report, which quantifies the impact of traffic congestion on 101 metropolitan areas nationwide.
It found that the average U.S. commuter lost the equivalent of seven working days sitting or crawling along in traffic, and estimated the personal cost of this at $1,010.
It also noted that the problem is getting worse: Delays averaged 54 hours per commuter per year in 2017 vs. 43 hours in 2007, 36 hours in 1997 and 25 hours in 1987.
The Capital Region ranked right in the middle of the list of similar medium-sized metropolitan areas and among all metro areas.
Albany metro auto commuters lost 49 hours to congestion in 2017, 41st out of the 101 metro areas.
This is up from 11 hours in 1987, 23 hours in 1997 and 41 hours in 2007.
The study found that the delays cost each Albany-area auto commuter $670, including 21 gallons of gas.
Among other medium metro areas, Honolulu had the longest delay at 64 hours a year and Bakersfield, California, was lowest at 24 hours.
Among all metro areas, Los Angeles had the longest delay at 119 hours a year and Indio-Cathedral City, California, was shortest at 14 hours.
The study recommends a variety of suggestions: Make the best of what’s already in place; provide choices; add capacity in critical corridors that need it; diversify development patterns; maximize the benefit of new technology; and have realistic expectations — large urban areas will be congested and smaller areas will be congested at key points.
It also cautions: “Almost every solution strategy works somewhere in some situation. And almost every strategy is the wrong treatment in some places and times. Anyone who tells you there is a single solution that can solve congestion, be supported and implemented everywhere (or even in most locations) is exaggerating the effect of their idea.”