Minimizing the Cost of Traffic Congestion

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It’s frustrating sitting in traffic.

It’s also expensive. Not only are you burning gas, but you’re losing productive time. Plus there are the intangibles, such as the loss of family time and the stress from sitting in traffic. According to the 2015 Urban Mobility Scorecard, produced by INRIX and the Texas A&M Transportation Institute, more than three billion gallons of fuel were wasted and travelers were stuck in their cars seven billion extra hours due to congestion during the year. That’s 42 hours per person, on average.

They pin the price tag of congestion at $160 billion, or in terms of your individual wallet: $960 per commuter. Washington D.C. was the most congested city cited by the study, followed by Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, and San Jose. A commuter in the Washington D.C. area can expect to spend  82 hours per year sitting in traffic jams.

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The study says that congestion has reached pre-recession levels, with strong business activity and low fuel prices increasing the number of vehicles on the road. If infrastructure investment remains at current levels, by 2020 the traffic congestion delay suffered by the average per person is expected to climb from 42 hours to 47 hours per year, with a $192 billion total hit on the U.S. economy.

[Read Best Cities to Own a Car]

So, what can you do to limit the effects of congestions on your wallet? Finding the right car for the city is key. The right commuter car can save you money in fuel, be comfortable enough to spend a lot of time in, have connectivity features to help you stay productive, and feature safety technologies to keep you out of trouble on congested roads.

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