Congestion costs per commuter in 2014 - $1,739

Hamilton, NJ – AAA Mid-Atlantic is calling attention to a new report produced by INRIX and the Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) showing that traffic congestion has returned to pre-recession levels in America. In the report, the New York –Newark region (comprised of NY, NJ, and CT) ranks 2nd in costs ($1,739) and 4th in delays (74 hours) per commuter annually.

Residents that fall into the Philadelphia region (comprised of PA, NJ, DE and MD) have a more favorable outlook with a loss of only 48 hours commuting and $1,112 in congestion cost.  Washington DC topped the list with a whopping 82 hours of delay per commuter and $1,834 in congestion cost. 

According to the 2015 Urban Mobility Scorecard, travel delays due to traffic congestion kept drivers across the country in their vehicles for almost 7 billion extra hours in 2014. This caused those same drivers to waste more than 3 billion gallons of fuel. These new numbers are the result of the continually improving economy and lower gas prices, which are encouraging people to drive at historic levels.

New York –Newark NY-NJ-CT Region, for 2014:

  • 1st in terms of total congestion costs: $14,712,000
  • 2nd in costs per peak automobile commuter: $1,739
  • 4th in annual delay per peak automobile commuter: 74 hours
  • 1st  in annual excess fuel consumed per peak auto commuter: 35 gallons

“Drivers in the New Jersey metro area will tell you that congestion is bad and commute times are getting worse,” said Tracy Noble, spokesperson for AAA Mid-Atlantic.  “This study underscores the dire need at both the Federal and state level to properly fund our aging transportation infrastructure.”

Americans have driven more than 3 trillion miles in the last year, according to recent data from the U.S. Department of Transportation. This is a new record, surpassing the 2007 peak just before the global financial crisis. Report authors say the U.S. needs more roadway and transit investment to meet the demands of population growth and economic expansion, but added capacity alone can’t solve congestion problems.

“AAA Mid-Atlantic recognizes that there is no silver bullet and no one-size fits all approach to solving this problem,” Noble added.

AAA encourages the following approaches to alleviate congestion, where appropriate:

  • maximizing the efficiency of or adding capacity to critical corridors,
  • smarter use of existing road networks (use of intelligent transportation systems, in-vehicle and in-road safety devices, improved commercial vehicle operations, advanced emergency assistance),
  • improving traffic management systems (synchronized traffic signals, computerized traffic control coordination, flextime, telecommuting, carpools), 
  • maintaining and improving alternatives to driving (public transportation, bicycling, walking),
  • changing commuting patterns (for example, flexible work hours).