Boston Traffic Sucks, Report Confirms

Congrats! You spent 64 hours in gridlock last year.

Photo by Steve Annear

Photo by Steve Annear

Stephen Colbert once joked that after 16 long years, motorists trapped in Big Dig traffic jams are just getting home now. A new report has found that Boston drivers spent 64 hours in gridlock last year—close enough, and good for sixth in the nation.

The 2015 Urban Mobility Scorecard, released by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute, has found that all the congestation cost the average Boston commuter an average of $1,388 in 2014, assuming their time is worth $17.67 per hour plus the state average cost per gallon for gasoline and diesel.

“States and cities have been addressing the congestion problems they face with a variety of strategies and more detailed data analysis,” the report states. “Some of the solution lies in identifying congestion that is undesirable—that which significantly diminishes the quality of life and economic productivity—and some lies in using the smart data systems and range of technologies, projects and programs to achieve results and communicate the effects to assure the public that their project dollars are being spent wisely.”

The institute assessed Boston a 1.29 on its time travel index (far less interesting than it sounds). That is, a 20-minute trip with no traffic takes nearly 26 minutes during peak travel time.

“Our growing traffic problem is too massive for any one entity to handle—state and local agencies can’t do it alone,” Tim Lomax, a civil engineer and one of the report’s co-authors, said in a statement. “Businesses can give their employees more flexibility in where, when and how they work, individual workers can adjust their commuting patterns, and we can have better thinking when it comes to long-term land use planning. This problem calls for a classic ‘all-hands-on-deck’ approach.”

Ranked higher than Boston in yearly delay per commuter were Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York City, and San Jose.