Good news, America: Traffic is getting worse
A new report says backed-up highways mean a stronger economy, with more people taking to the roads to get to work.
If your daily commute by car seems worse lately, take heart: Experts say that's a sign of an improving economy.
INRIX, a global provider of traffic information and driver services, says traffic congestion is rising this year, after two consecutive years of double-digit declines. According to the firm's sixth traffic scorecard annual report, the 4% overall increase in traffic for the first three months of 2013, compared with the same time last year, suggests a better financial landscape that's in line with rising employment data.
So far this year, according to the report, 61 of America's 100 largest cities have experienced increased traffic congestion. That's a big jump from 2012, when 94 of those cities had declines. But Bryan Mistele, INRIX president and CEO, says we're not yet back to prerecession traffic levels.
"Fears over recurring fiscal deadlines and ongoing debt issues last year likely fueled declines in traffic congestion, with businesses and consumers alike taking a 'wait and see' approach," Mistele said in a statement. "While bad news for drivers, the gains we’ve seen in the U.S. and a few countries in Europe in 2013 are cause for some optimism about the direction of the economy."
Of the 15 countries INRIX looked at for is report, only three -- the U.S., Ireland and Luxembourg -- had had more traffic this year. And INRIX says congestion in Europe, or a lack thereof, helps tell the story of that region's ongoing economic crisis.
Overall traffic in Europe, down 18% last year, continues to drop -- with a 23% decline during the first quarter of this year and 81 of 94 European cities seeing decreases in traffic jams.
The U.S. cities with the worst traffic jams last year were:
San Jose, Calif.
And of those 10 cities, Boston -- never known for its calm approach to driving, anyway -- had the largest increase in traffic jams, at 30%, between the first quarter of this year and first-quarter 2012.
INRIX says that rise is most likely due to "the Boston metropolitan area boasting unemployment figures that were 1.2 percentage points lower than the national average in February 2013."
And if you think the rise in traffic might be affecting gas prices, think again. According to AAA's most recent Fuel Gauge Report, the national average price for a gallon of regular, unleaded gasoline is $3.52. That's 16 cents less than it was a month ago -- and down 35 cents from the same time last year.
I work 2.1 miles from my home and wouldn't give it up for double my salary. I have coworkers that do a 90 minute drive each way to work. That's three hours a day committed to work but unpaid. No thanks.
I tell you, Philadelphia area is the top worst traffic jams in the country!! L.A. to Boston in top ten?? makes me laugh!! Philly is number one worst traffic jams everywhere you try and still get stuck in it!!
Oh really? You going to stop people buying vehicles?
Build MORE and BETTER roads and stop trying to shove public transport down everyone's throat. Public transport is a money loser and doesn't take you where you want to go. I've done both and cars are twice as fast for half the cost. Plus you can go on your own schedule.
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More than 70 percent of the Class of 2012 took out loans. Oh, and they're seeing high unemployment, too.
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