Here’s how much money you waste when you’re stuck in traffic
Texas A&M University’s Urban Mobility Report calculates the cost of congestion. New York City is the highest and Lancaster-Palmdale, California, is the cheapest. Here’s the cost for states in the Intermountain West
Do you know how much it costs you to sit in traffic?
Researchers at Texas A&M University have figured it out, and last year urban dwellers in much of the Intermountain West wasted nearly $450 per person last year when stuck in traffic — a relatively cheap figure compared to years past.
In the university’s annual Urban Mobility Report, researchers calculated that every hour is worth about $20.17 to the average American worker based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ median hourly wage. Factor in the cost of the fuel you’re burning while driving at a slower speed, which they estimated using the state average cost per gallon for gasoline and diesel, and the cost can climb.
With the drop in traffic due to the pandemic-caused decrease in travel and commuting last year, the average “cost of congestion” fell by about half in most urban areas in Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Nevada and Utah.
“The trends were different at the regional level, but every area saw much more change than any other report period,” the report said. “Congestion levels in early 2021 are at least a decade behind where they were in 2019.”
The 2021 report analyzed 101 urban areas, chosen for either having more than half a million people or they were chosen in previous reports, the university said.
Of those cities, New York City, New York, and Newark, New Jersey, together had the highest per person congestion cost in 2020 at over $1,300 annually, and Lancaster and Palmdale, California, had the lowest at $216 annually.
Las Vegas and Henderson, Nevada, had the biggest cost decrease in annual congestion cost within the Intermountain West with a 69% drop in 2020 from 2019.
Provo and Orem, Utah, were the cheapest places in the region to get stuck in traffic at $309 last year, while the annual cost per person in Colorado Springs, Colorado, was over $580 — the region’s most expensive place to get caught in traffic in 2020. Provo-Orem and Boise, Idaho, ranked 97th and 95th lowest cost, respectively, out of the 101 areas.
Here’s how much it costs to sit in traffic in several Intermountain urban areas:
K. Sophie Will is a Deseret News contributor. @ksophiewill