Congested Roads Cost Billions in Wasted Hours and Dollars

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

John Krieger,Attorney, Transportation Analyst
Office: (202) 546-9707 x 333
Mobile: (614) 214-9888
E-mail jkreiger@pirg.org

Congested Roads Cost Billions in Wasted Hours and Dollars

Nationwide Study Shows Need for More Public Transit to Fight Congestion

WASHINGTON - American commuters are wasting 4.2 billion hours, nearly an
entire work week per commuter, stuck in traffic. 

According
to data released on Wednesday, traffic congestion also wastes 2.8 billion
gallons of gas, which costs consumers $87.2 billion.

The
Urban Mobility Report, produced
by the Texas Transportation Institute, also points to investment in public
transportation as an important solution for congestion, showing that drivers
would have suffered 646 million more hours of road delays were it not for
public transportation. 

"Traffic
congestion is like a tax that we all pay, sapping our time and money,"
said John
Krieger, Federal Transportation Policy Analyst
for the U.S. Public Interest Research Group.  
"American commuters need better alternatives, particularly more and
better public transportation.  Each full bus can get fifty cars off the road;
each full rail car would remove hundreds more."

Recent
trends show that more and more Americans are riding public transportation to
avoid traffic congestion and high gas prices.  Public
transportation ridership
has increased nearly 40 percent nationwide since
1995, and according to a Brookings
Institution study
, 2007 was the first year that per-capita driving miles
declined.

"For
decades, government has tried to fight traffic congestion by building more and
wider roads, which just increases congestion at choke points. This report is
further evidence of the folly of that approach," said Krieger.

"We
need to prioritize expanding bus and rail systems that reduce the number of
drivers on the road. Doing so will address congestion problems that are
crippling our metro areas and will reduce our nation's dependence on
dirty fossil fuels," Krieger added.

Congress
is scheduled to address funding for transportation priorities this summer
before the current six-year federal transportation bill expires.

Through its nationwide
Transportation Solutions campaign,
U.S. PIRG is working for more and better
transit by encouraging public support for new projects and improved service.

###

U.S. PIRG, the federation of state Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGs), stands up to powerful special interests on behalf of the American public, working to win concrete results for our health and our well-being. With a strong network of researchers, advocates, organizers and students in state capitols across the country, we take on the special interests on issues, such as product safety,political corruption, prescription drugs and voting rights,where these interests stand in the way of reform and progress.

Share This Article

More in: