Traffic Congestion Costs Each American $1,400 a Year

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Traffic congestion costs every American roughly $1,400 per year, according to INRIX. That’s roughly 100 hours per person per year wasted while stuck in traffic. The company released details on traffic congestion and mobility trends in its 2019 Global Traffic Scorecard.

  • Traffic congestion costs each American roughly $1,400 per year.
  • That works out to about 100 hours of time spent stuck in traffic.
  • The worst traffic in the country is found on the east coast.

The report looked at data from over 900 cities across 43 countries and found that the total cost of traffic congestion to Americans was $88 billion in 2019. The average American’s commute has increased two hours per year from 2017 to 2019 as a result of urban and economic growth.

Boston, Massachusetts, is home to the worst traffic congestion in the country. (Photo: Getty Images)

Eastern cities hold the top spots on the list

The report further analyzed the congestion in the top 66 urban areas. Boston ranked as the most congested city in the United States for the second year in a row. Drivers making the daily commute there lose 149 hours per year at a cost of $2,205 per driver.

Not far behind was Chicago, with 145 hours per driver, followed by Philadelphia at 142 hours and New York City at 140 hours. Rounding out the top five was Washington, D.C., with a total loss of 124 hours per driver. The first West Coast city comes in at number six with Los Angeles at 103 hours per driver.

While those numbers might seem bleak, they’re not as bad as what the worst cities in the world face every year. The top ten globally puts Boston in ninth place and Chicago in tenth. Sitting at the top with the unenviable distinction of having the most congested traffic in the world is Bogata, Colombia, at 191 hours, followed by Rio de Janeiro at 190 hours and Mexico City at 158 hours.


Traffic congestion isn’t limited to any one country or any one region. It’s a worldwide problem with a high cost both in dollars and wasted time. Data on which cities and streets are congested and at what times that congestion is worst is vital for city planners trying to map new roads and introduce alternate means of transportation to alleviate traffic.

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