• Study: Traffic costing Seattle commuters over $1,400 a year

    By: Nick Bowman, MyNorthwest

    Updated:

    SEATTLE - Seattle's traffic and congestion problems have been well-documented in recent years. Now, another report from the Texas A&M Transportation Institute shows just how bad we've got it in the Emerald City.

    According to the study, the average Seattle commuter was delayed by traffic for 78 hours in 2017. Those drivers were delayed a total of over 164 million hours, good for 12th in the nation.

    The yearly cost in gas incurred by that traffic per commuter sat at $1,408 in 2017. Combined across all Seattle commuters, added fuel costs totaled $3.11 million. Broken out further, that cost drivers a whopping $18.29 an hour. Almost 88 percent of those costs were driven specifically by commuters on the roads, while trucks were responsible for the remaining 12 percent.

    The study also broke out the best and worst times for congestion in Seattle, with the toughest period being 4 p.m. on Fridays. Just over two percent of Seattle's traffic delays occurred at that time, according to Texas A&M's report.

    All these numbers exist at the end of a trend line that's pointed straight up, starting in the mid 1980s. For reference, in 1985, your standard commuter was stuck in Seattle traffic for 36 hours per year. That ballooned to 43 hours in 1990, 55 hours by 2000, and 64 hours in 2010, before settling on 2017's 78-hour average.

    But hey, at least it's not San Francisco, where drivers were delayed 103 hours in 2017.


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