Here’s where traffic sucked the most in 2022
Did your trip get worse in 2022? Overall, congestion cost the country more than $81 billion, says transportation data company Inrix. It just released its Global Traffic Scorecard for last year, and the data says the typical American driver spent 51 hours in traffic last year, 15 hours more than in 2021. And because of rising fuel prices and inflation others, the average driver paid $134 more for gas last year than the year before—and that’s in addition to the $869 in wasted time.
Although not as severe as it was in 2020 or 2021, it is still possible to see the effect of the pandemic in the Inrix data. In the US, vehicle miles traveled (VMT) increased 1 percent year-over-year, but we still drove 9 percent fewer miles per year than before the pandemic. Interestingly, Inrix says that’s because more people continue to work from home, which it says now accounts for 17.9 percent of Americans — before the pandemic, working from home accounted for just 5.7 percent of workers, according to the U.S. Census Bureau .
Unfortunately, road safety is still unimaginable; the estimated fatality rate of 1.27 deaths per 100 million VMT is 17 percent higher than we saw in 2019, although there was a slight decrease from the 2021 high of 1.3 deaths per 100 million VMT. And while some of the other trends found in the report exist in countries like the UK and Germany, the rise in road deaths appears to be unique to the US.
Inrix collects data on more than just car trips, and when it comes to public transportation, things are looking better than at any time since the pandemic began. COVID caused Americans to cut their use of buses, trains, and streetcars by 50 percent, but in 2022, we made up 33 percent of that loss as ridership increased. Overall, US public transit usage remains 39 percent lower than in 2019.
And while cycling has become much more popular in Germany and the UK over the past couple of years, here in the US, it’s not really happening. Bike rentals in New York and Washington DC are up, but cities like Seattle and San Francisco have lost cyclists, which Inrix attributes to the work-from-home effect.
Your traffic is bad – London traffic is worse
In addition to looking at national trends, Inrix also flags cities around the world for overcrowding. And at the top of the chart is London again, with a 5 percent year-on-year increase. The average driving speed in central London was just 10 mph, and Londoners lost an average of 156 hours to congestion in 2022.
But things were almost as bleak in Chicago, which jumped four spots to drop to second place for 2022. Drivers in the Windy City lost 155 hours in gridlock, a 49 percent increase year-over-year. 2021. Chicagoans can take solace in the fact that their average speed downtown is a full mile an hour faster than it would be in London.
Paris takes the bronze medal, with residents spending 138 hours idling in traffic, a drop of 1 percent compared to last year. But the United States can take pride in claiming the 4th and 5th places, namely Boston and New York City. Boston saw a huge increase – 72 percent over last year, for a total of 134 hours spent in gridlock. But New Yorkers fared slightly better, with 117 hours sacrificed to the gridlock.