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Traffic makes Chicago one of most congested cities

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Updated: March 7, 2013 6:29AM



The average Chicago area commuter wasted 51 hours and about $1,100 in gas while stuck in traffic in 2011, a new study has found.

The Chicago area ranked third in the nation — behind New York and Los Angeles — in terms of automobile travel delays and fuel wasted while in traffic for the same time period, according to Texas A&M Transportation Institute’s 2012 Urban Mobility Report

Nationally, fuel wasted in congested traffic hit 2.9 billion gallons, which, the report notes, is enough to fill the New Orleans Superdome four times. That’s about what it was in 2010, but a bit short of the 3.2 gallons wasted in pre-recession 2005.

The total financial cost of congestion in 2011 was $121 billion, up one billion dollars from the year before and translating to $818 per U.S. commuter, according to the report.

“We all understand that trips take longer in rush hour, but for really important appointments, we have to allow increasingly more time to ensure an on-time arrival,” said Bill Eisele, an institute researcher and report co-author. “As bad as traffic jams are, it’s even more frustrating that you can’t depend on traffic jams being consistent from day to day. This unreliable travel is costly for commuters and truck drivers moving goods.”

The report also determined that the 10 most congested cities are Washington, Los Angeles, San Francisco-Oakland, New York-Newark, Boston, Houston, Atlanta, Chicago, Philadelphia and Seattle.

The report is one of the key tools used by experts to solve traffic problems. But the institute advises that every community has unique challenges and require different, multifaceted approaches to solving congestion.



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