Traffic congestion soars in 2013 coinciding with economic growth, report says

| March 05, 2014
I-40 east of Nashville during the morning rush hour

I-40 east of Nashville during the morning rush hour

Following two years of overall decline, the amount of traffic congestion in 2013 grew 6 percent from 2012 — outpacing the U.S. economy’s growth by about three times, according to traffic data firm Inrix. 


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Traffic congestion in recent years had eased some due to the 2008-2009 recession, but economic growth and an uptick in employment and hiring in 2013 pushed congestion upwards, Inrix notes, and the prospects in 2014 could be even worse — or better — as further economic expansion will continue to drive congestion, Inrix says. 

Four out of the top 10 most congested cities in the country saw double digit growth in congestion, based on the number of hours the average commuter spends annually stuck in traffic, as Honolulu, San Francisco, San Jose (Calif.) and Boston all posted more than a 10 percent increase in traffic congestion, according to Inrix.

Los Angeles is the country’s most congested city and had an 8.5 percent increase in congestion from the previous year. Honolulu’s congestion increased 18 percent, and San Francisco’s increased 13 percent. 

Rounding out the top five, Austin and New York had 9 percent and 5 percent growth in congestion, respectively. Boston, No. 9 on the list, had 22 percent growth in traffic congestion. 


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Washington, D.C., the No. 10 most congested city on the list, was the only city in the top 10 to have less congestion the in 2012, falling 1 percent. 

In a report on Inrix’s traffic data, USA Today reports that mileage for trucks has outpaces growth of mileage for passenger cars, meaning more goods moving in the wake of the economic recovery.

Inrix President and CEO Bryan Mistele said to mitigate the increasing congestion expected this year and in coming years as the economy continues recovery, the U.S. and the world must look at using technology and data instead of simply relying on building roads. 

“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,” he said. “It’s too late to build our way out of congestion – we’ve learned there is no such thing as ‘shovel ready projects.’  Optimizing road networks through better technology and data analytics will be the only way to relieve congestion as the economy recovers in the near term.” 

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  • g

    This increases the RISK of Accident for every truck driver. However the truck driver is seiing Declining wages…and Increasing regulations….a further deterioration for trucking.

  • g

    Most states like illinois and Calif are issuing driver licenses to illegal aliens effective Pronto. Not only we have Millions of newly licensed drivers clogging up our roads..but they dont speak or read Enlish and drive like Tijuana Cab Drivers…….in Los Angeles they have 20,000 hit and run accidents annually.

  • g

    The Bloody Carnage continues unabated in Los Angeles..a Sanctuary City for illegal aliens….50% of OUR nations hit and run FELONY accidents occur in this Sanctuary for illegals….YES half of ALL hit and run accidents are in Los Angleles…that’s 20,000 ANNUALLY….more and more and more “good neighbor” illegals crawl under the fence every year…steal a car and Hit the Highway……4,000 of those accidents they cause result in DEATH and Serious Mayhem…….does Anne Ferro and her SAFETY ZEALOTS approve of this behavior??? She is way too busy seeing that AMERICAN truck drivers are inspected for light bulb infractions. NEVER any mention of the CARNAGE and DESTRUCTION these illegals are bringing to AMERICAN highways…never a WORD on how many illegal alien Truckers were ARRESTED and DEPORTED either……

  • Stormy

    Increase in economy – are we really supposed to take that seriously? Has anybody made a connection of the congestion with the revised hours of service? I know that would require thinking and FMCSA discourages thinking. Queen Anne may be working on a regulation at this very moment banning all thinking. You certainly can’t think while off duty or you would have to note the time as on duty and thinking on duty would be distracted driving. So just do as you are told, believe what is said and keep on running into the middle of that rush hour traffic. That is putting safety first and foremost. strives to maintain an open forum for reader opinions. Click here to read our comment policy.