Los Angeles tops in traffic delays – study

Posted by Humphrey Cheung

Los Angeles (CA) – Traffic delays cause billions of dollars in lost revenue, according to a new study put out by the Texas Transportation Institute.  By tabulating date from major urban areas, the agency found that people lose a total of 4.2 billion hours a year sitting in traffic.  This time accounts for 2.9 billion gallons of wasted fuel and $78 billion dollars in lost revenue.  Los Angeles residents probably won’t be surprised that their area was deemed to be the most congested in the nation.

The 2007 Urban Mobility study gathered data from 437 urban areas over the past two years and found that average rush hour traveler waited 38 extra hours and wasted 26 gallons of fuel during the year. 

The study’s co-author, research engineer Tim Lomax says there is no magic technology or solution for the traffic.  He adds that lane construction has almost always lagged behind demand.

In addition to find raw numbers, the study claims that car trips take longer and that rush hour time has expanded to include more of the day.  Rush hour now has also extended into the weekend and rural areas.  The bottom line is that there is so much congestion now that travel times have become highly unreliable.

Los Angeles residents have it especially bad because their area – which includes Long Beach and Santa Ana in the study – had the worst traffic.  The region lost $9.3 billion dollars from traffic delays and the average resident here spent an extra 57 gallons of fuel a year.

Los Angeles also has the highest “travel time index” which is a multiplier that helps calculate how long a trip should take.  The 1.50 travel time index for Los Angeles means a one hour trip will actually take one hour and 30 minutes.