In a Traffic Jam
JAMES HATTORI, HOST
The spectacular vermilion orange span of the Golden Gate Bridge. Hi, everybody, I'm James Hattori. Welcome to NEXT@CNN. this week from San Francisco's world famous landmark, at the mouth of the Golden Gate straits. Forty-two million vehicles a year cross this bridge. That gives you an idea of the often nightmarish traffic drivers face around here. And, of course, we're not alone. Natalie Pawelski has the numbers on what it costs Americans to cope with rush-hour traffic, in time and money.
NATALIE PAWELSKI, CNN ENVIRONMENT CORRESPONDENT
If you think traffic is getting worse in your town, you're probably right.
TIM LOMAX, TEXAS TRANSPORTATION INSTITUTE
There's a combination of factors. It's the amount of people, the amount of roadway that is there. It's sort of a demand/supply relationship. You can think of it that way, and there's a lot more demand than there is supply.
The annual Urban Mobility Report from the Texas Transportation Institute finds in the average American city people traveled 85 percent more miles by car in the year 2000 than they did in 1982. And rush hour drivers are now wasting an average of 62 hours a year stuck in traffic. Now that's not total travel time, that's just the extra time spent going slow or going nowhere because of traffic congestion. The study says the worst traffic is in Los Angeles where the average rush hour driver loses 136 hours a year, more than three work weeks, to traffic jams. The runners up in the time drained category San Francisco, D.C., Seattle, Houston, San Jose, Dallas, New York, Atlanta and Miami where the average rush hour driver loses an extra 69 hours a year stuck in traffic.
Once you get to a big system, it's difficult to maintain the pace of the roadway and transit system development and you wind up falling behind. More congestion is typical in bigger cities.
PAWELSKI (on camera)
The report says traffic jams aren't just annoying, they are expensive. For the 75 cities studied, researchers added up all the extra time and fuel wasted because of traffic congestion. The price tag they figure is almost $68 billion a year.