I'm not sure who needs to hear this right now, but if you are stuck in traffic, just remember that you are not alone… But know this, you are the traffic.
If you are reading this and live in the US, it is likely you spend about 42 hours per year stuck in traffic. If you live in cities like Los Angeles and commute every day (and I pray for you if you do), its likely you spend twice that amount of time in gridlock. It is also quite likely that you have your own car and drive alone to work, as do 76 percent of all workers. The map below from CityLab shows where the greatest percentage of commuters drive alone to work.
This obsession with individual car ownership and the tendency to commute alone has created the traffic problem that everyone claims to hate. More than just a nuisance, traffic has taken from us our time and money, and has destroyed our environment and personal health.
With all those hours spent sitting in traffic jams, the American economy is hurting. A 2017 study conducted by transportation consulting firm, INRIX, found that traffic congestion cost the US economy $305 billion in 2017 alone. Beyond that, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), transportation is responsible for nearly 30 percent of greenhouse gases emitted in the US. These emissions create air pollution, which nine out of 10 of us breathe every single day and is responsible for the deaths of seven million people each year.
Despite the challenges associated with traffic congestion and the damage being done to individual citizens and the economy, studies show that changing commuting habits is notoriously difficult. So, what are cities doing to try and address this growing congestion problem?
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