Gridlocked up

Los Angeles has long had a reputation for gridlock, but a new study shows just how bad it is -- the average traveler in Southern California spends 93 hours per year going nowhere thanks to traffic delays.

The 2004 Urban Mobility Report, developed by the Texas Transportation Institute, ranks areas according to several measurements, including:

  • Annual delay per peak period (rush hour) traveler, which has grown from 16 hours to 46 hours since 1982.
  • Annual financial cost of traffic congestion, which has increased from $14 billion to more than $63 billion since 1982.
  • Wasted fuel, totaling 5.6 billion gallons lost to engines idling in traffic jams.

Commenting on the study, Pete Ruan, president and CEO of the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA), says, "Any objective analyst of the situation would say America needs more infrastructure capacity in all modes of transportation to keep pace with a growing population and economy."

He suggests a number of solutions, including: improved handling of traffic incidents to clear roadways quickly, increased use of synchronized traffic signalization and 'smart road' technologies to increase traffic flow, and completely closing roads that need repair to traffic (when possible) so that contractors can complete work quickly.

Most Congested U.S. Cities
(annual delay per traveler, in hours)

93 Los Angeles/Long Beach/Santa Ana
73 San Francisco/Oakland
67 Washington, D.C.
61 Dallas/Fort Worth/Arlington
60 Atlanta

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