Study Finds Chicagoans Spend 73 Hours A Year Stuck In Traffic

Feel like you're wasting days sitting in traffic? You are.

August 22, 2019

Raise your hand if you enjoy sitting in traffic. No one? Good.

A new study released by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute found Chicagoans spent 73 hours stuck in traffic in 2017. This figure rose from 31 hours back in 1982.

While the 73 hours place Chicago as the tenth highest area for yearly delay per commuter, it ranked third when it came to total hours of travel delay. The Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim area topped the list with the average commuter spending 119 hours in traffic.

The study examined transportation trends between 1982-2017 and revealed troubling results. In 2017, congestion caused Americans living in urban areas to travel an extra 8.8 billion hours, purchase an additional 3.3 billions of gas at a cost of $166 billion.

One of the main attributions to increased travel delays is the economy. With more people working now than in 1982, there are more cars on the road. The study has a chart detailing the year-by-year figures for U.S. jobs, delay per commuter, total delay, fuel wasted, and total cost (in 2017 dollars). In 1982, there were 99.5 million U.S. jobs while in 2017 there were 153.3 million accounting for a 53.8% increase. This also coincides with a 34 hour increase in average delay per commuter.

The increased delay comes as a cost to the commuter with Chicagoans losing an average of $1,310 a year due to congestion. The Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim area topped the list with commuters losing $2,440 per year on average.

Researchers provide a grim outlook in their concluding thoughts pointing to not enough solutions being implemented as a major problem. Rather than mixing solutions, researchers say it's more important to implement a greater amount of solutions. That allows for the study on the best strategies based on on role and location.

If you'd like to read the entire report, you may view it here.