Transportation analytics company INRIX has published its annual Global Traffic Scorecard, analysing 1360 cities across 38 countries. Based on the findings, the US ranked as the most congested developed country in the world, with drivers spending an average of 41 hours a year in traffic during peak hours. This cost the drivers nearly US$305 billion in lost productivity in 2017, an average of US$1445 per driver.
The US had three of the top five most congested cities globally, with Los Angeles (first), New York (tied for second with Moscow) and San Francisco (fifth) costing an economic drain of more than US$2.5 billion thanks to traffic. Angelenos spent an average of 102 hours last year in traffic jams during peak congestion hours, costing them US$2828 each and the city US$19.2 billion from direct and indirect costs. Direct costs relate to the value of fuel and time wasted, and indirect costs refer to freight and business fees from company vehicles idling in traffic, which are passed on to households through higher prices.
Despite the high costs of congestion in Los Angeles and other cities, American drivers, in general, had it easier than their German counterparts. At US$1770, congestion cost the average German driver 57 per cent more than an American, after adjusting for exchange rates and the cost of living. Detroit had the lowest cost of congestion among the top 25 US cities, at US$1256 per driver, and ranked among the bottom in all three categories of costs: commuting, business and leisure/other.
In the UK, the INRIX 2017 Global Traffic Scorecard analysed congestion in 111 cities and towns. London remained the UK’s most congested major city for the 10th year in a row, ranked second in Europe after Moscow and seventh in the world overall. Drivers in London spent an average of 74 hours in gridlock during peak hours, an increase of one hour since last year. This contributed to congestion costing London drivers US$3390 a year each and the capital itself US$13.26 billion from direct and indirect costs.
Along with the capital, Manchester, Birmingham, Luton and Edinburgh made up the UK’s five most major congested cities. Drivers in Manchester spent 39 hours in congestion during peak hours, and 10 per cent of their total drive time (peak and non-peak hours) in gridlock. This in turn cost each driver US$1958, and the city US$481 million. Motorists in Birmingham spent over nine per cent of their total drive time in congestion last year, costing the city US$882 million.