Study: Chicago Motorists Spend 3 Days a Year in Traffic

The congestion in Chicago, and across America, is getting worse and it's costing residents money and time

You may have an inkling that traffic is bad in the city of Chicago, but a new study suggests that it costs the average driver three days a year.

According to the study from Texas A&M University, congested traffic costs the average Chicago motorist 73 hours a year, and while that’s the eighth-worst total in the country, it is still a staggering finding that indicates that traffic can take three days of a driver’s life in a given year.

“I drive every day from the south suburbs to Wacker. It’s an hour and a half there and back every day,” commuter Tansiha Pierce said.

All that waiting in traffic doesn’t just cost motorists time; it also costs them money. According to the study, motorists in Chicago lose a total of $6 billion a year in used fuel and other costs. That is the third highest total in the country, and represents more than $1,000 a year for every single motorist in the city.

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Part of the reason for the increased traffic in the city is that more people are working, and therefore more motorists are commuting. According to the story, there has been a 50 percent increase in commuters using cars since 1982.

The study suggests that cities need to find more efficiencies to help improve traffic flow, including clearing crashes quickly and offering more efficient and convenient modes of public transportation. The study did give Chicago plaudits for its public transit.

Nationwide, the amount of time motorists lose in traffic every year has tripled, rising to 54 hours per year on average.

If Chicagoans need a ray of sunshine in the study, it’s that traffic in other big cities is much, much worse. The study found that the average automotive commuter in Los Angeles spends a staggering 199 hours a year in traffic, and in total Los Angeles commuters lose more than $17 billion a year because of congestion. New Yorkers lose an estimated total of $15 billion, the second-worst total in America.

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