When it comes to predicting and tracking traffic trends, INRIX is the go-to authority.
The company says that traffic congestion surged in 2013, growing over three times as fast as the U.S. economy.
According to INRIX, traffic in the U.S. reversed two consecutive years of declines with a six percent increase in 2013. The country’s GDP, by comparison, grew 1.9 percent last year. INRIX suggests that continued economic growth will result in more traffic congestion, longer commutes, and more productivity losses.
Not surprisingly, INRIX found the country’s worst traffic in Los Angeles, California. There, drivers lost 64 hours to traffic jams last year. Rounding out the ten most congested metro areas were Honolulu, HI; San Francisco, CA; Austin, TX; New York, NY; Bridgeport, CT; San Jose, CA; Seattle, WA, Boston, MA; and Washington, DC.
INRIX also identified some future trouble spots. Traffic in Colorado Springs, CO is up a whopping 58 percent from last year. It’s trailed by Charleston, SC; Grand Rapids, MI; Little Rock, AR; Providence, RI; Salt Lake City, UT; Riverside, CA; Boston, MA; Denver, CO; and New Haven, CT.
Traffic is worsening in Europe, too, where stats have also ticked up after two years of decline. Commuters have it roughest in Belgium, where they wasted 58 hours of their lives in traffic last year. The Netherlands, Germany, France, and Luxembourg round out the top five.
INRIX’s Bryan Mistele believes that the figures are actually cause for optimism, implying that increased traffic stems from economic improvement, as more people join the workforce. However, he cautions that the situation could get much, much worse in the future, and it’s time to take action: “If we’re to avoid traffic congestion becoming a further drain on our economies, we must invest in intelligent transportation systems and connected car technologies now.”