Commentary

The Cost of Congestion: 130 Days of Flow Through Alaskan Pipeline

Last week, the Texas Transportation Institute released it’s annual Urban Mobility Report. Its got lots of good information, and this one is more accurate and more sophisticated in its approach. In reading through the report thorougly, I thought these bullets (from page 5) helped put the congestion problem in context:

Congestion wastes a massive amount of time, fuel and money. In 2009:

· 3.9 billion gallons of wasted fuel (equivalent to 130 days of flow in the Alaska Pipeline).

· 4.8 billion hours of extra time (equivalent to the time Americans spend relaxing and thinking in 10 weeks).

· $115 billion of delay and fuel cost (the negative effect of uncertain or longer delivery times, missed meetings, business relocations and other congestion-related effects are not included).

· $33 billion of the delay cost was the effect of congestion on truck operations; this does not include any value for the goods being transported in the trucks.

· The cost to the average commuter was $808 in 2009 compared to an inflation-adjusted $351 in 1982.

Samuel R. Staley, Ph.D. is a senior research fellow at Reason Foundation and managing director of the DeVoe L. Moore Center at Florida State University in Tallahassee where he teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in urban planning, regulation, and urban economics. Prior to joining Florida State, Staley was director of urban growth and land-use policy for Reason Foundation where he helped establish its urban policy program in 1997.