Reporting on pedestrian life in the D.C. area

What D.C. traffic costs us—68 hours a year and $1,555

October 11, 2011 - 01:46 PM
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(Photo: flickr/richardmasoner)

Here's your depressing infographic of the day, D.C., courtesy of Car Buzz. The website has collected many of the recent agonizing statistics regarding congestion, from the rankings of cities by traffic jam agony to IBM's Commuter Pain Index, to paint a picture of the misery that bad traffic inspires.

The chart ranks us as the second worst city for traffic jams after Chicago and claims we waste 68 hours a year and $1,555 stuck in traffic.

But that number's better than what the Texas Transportation Institute told us not long ago. Their 2010 data, derived from INRIX, suggested that Washingtonians waste about 74 hours on the road (you could fly around the world more than one a half times in that span of time, people — perspective!). I'm a little unclear on what numbers Car Buzz is using for Washington, D.C. Yet the two stats are close enough. Is there that great a difference between 68 hours of delay and 74? Either way, the commutes are painful, and that's what the splashy infographic is trying to convey more than anything. Drivers in D.C. won't have any trouble recognizing the depression inherent in these numbers and underlying transportation realities. Let's bring on the smart car navigation and robots ASAP.

The one consolation is that the number of hours of congestion delays appears to be going down in D.C., at least a little. Texas Transportation Institute numbers from more than a decade ago suggested that D.C. commuters lost 76 hours a year in traffic. Overall, congestion is costing people far more hours, it seems. The Institute compares the average of 34 hours lost nationwide last year with the 14 hours estimated to be lost in 1982.

See the complete and terrifying Car Buzz infographic after the jump:

Traffic Jams

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