One of the obvious causes of roadway congestion is that many workers need to arrive at work at pretty much the same time. According to the U.S. Census, 53% of commuters leave for work each morning between 6:30 and 8:30 a.m.
Of those who drove each day to and from work, the average commute was 25.5 minutes each way; 30.8% had a 10- to 19-minute average commute and 8%endured an hour-plus drive.
The influx of cars on the road often overtaxes roads serving as the major artery between city centers and outlying suburbs.
A study last month by Navteq, a provider of maps, traffic and location data, offered its analysis of the cities with the worst rush hour commutes. In order, they were New York, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Seattle, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Chicago, Dallas-Fort Worth, Atlanta and Houston.
Navteq also offered list of most congested cities and freeways. The freeways with the "slowest typical rush hour" were:
- New York City at the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel northbound
- New York City at the George Washington Bridge eastbound
- Philadelphia at US-202 southbound
- New York City at the George Washington Bridge westbound
- Los Angeles at Interstate 10 eastbound
- Boston at U.S. 1 northbound
- Dallas at State Route 366 eastbound
Bundle's analysis found that residents of Washington, D.C., wasted the most time stuck in traffic, with an average of 62 hours of delays each year during peak commutes. Other cities suffering from stop-and-go syndrome were Atlanta (57 hours of delays), Houston (56), San Francisco (55), Dallas (53), Orlando (53), San Jose (52), San Diego (52) and Detroit (52).
The weekly fill-up can detract significantly from savings over the course of a month for daily commuters.
One might imagine that with all its oil wells, Texans might have an easier time at the pump, but they, in fact, spend more than many others. Austin drivers, on average, pay $345 a month for fuel, significantly more than even fellow Lone Star denizens in Corpus Christi ($209), Dallas ($193) and Houston ($197). Californians also bear a bigger than average burden when they gas and go. San Jose commuters can expect to pay an average of $220 a month, and even the smaller communities of Oxnard and Palmdale pay upward of $230 and $207 a month, respectively. The average commuter's monthly tab will hit $210 in Nashville, $219 in Little Rock and $216 in Oklahoma City. Residents of Raleigh, N.C., pump away an average of $295 a month.
The various expenses for keeping a car on the road also add up significantly during the course of a year. In averaging 12 months of data for such items as toll and bridge fees, supplies and new auto parts, tires, parking lot fees, garages, auto body and repair shops, car washes and towing services, Bundle found Austin and Bridgeport drivers expend an average of $509 and $529 a month on these expenses, respectively. Car owners in Phoenix ($440), Dallas ($400), San Jose ($401) and Hartford ($401) also pay more than most of the country in these costs.
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