If you work in the US and consider yourself “average,” it is likely that you spend two weeks out of your year in a traffic jam: no hyperbole here, it’s true, or at least the folks at CarBuzz applied some science and math to statistics and research and found this to be so. Chicago and Washington D.C. appear to be the worst, costing their drivers over $1,700 and $1,500 respectively, per year in wasted fuel.
Traffic jams by and large can be attributed to the quantity of vehicles in what is a fairly small space for what most folks intend to do with their vehicles. Some point to poor public transport as the root cause, but in the case of DC and Chicago, both have very strong public transport systems. We can all easily speculate on the causes and solutions of freeway congestion, but for highly urban congestion, a partial solution certainly could be increased foot traffic or bicycle traffic where reasonable.
I am well aware that this is a car blog and that for some, the bike commute is a very bitter pill to swallow, but in some locations, it really isn’t. Furthermore, while the US population is growing as is suburbia, the number of people working in cities is starting to be a real problem. New York City appears to be experimenting with bikes and frankly I do not blame them. Getting from one place to another quickly is becoming increasingly difficult; bike rentals and programs offered by governments may appeal to ‘eco-mentalists’, but frankly, none of us enjoy sitting in traffic.
Continuing on the anti-traffic theme, lets look at a few more numbers: 47 percent of people polled said that in the last month alone they have had to cancel a trip due to traffic. 3.9 billion gallons have been wasted on idling in traffic; it would take 130 days for this amount to flow through the Alaska Pipeline.
The problem is not limited to the US of course, Paris saw the world’s largest traffic jam in 1980: 18 million cars, 109 miles; Mexico City has the highest (psychological) pain index. The only positive out of these statistics it seems is that the US is not even on the radar in terms of pain; I guess we are used to it, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do something about it.
– By: Sawyer Sutton