Twin Cities commuters spend an extra 47 hours in rush hour traffic every year, report says


It's not just your imagination – commuting is getting worse in the Twin Cities, where a new ranking says drivers are losing about two days a year to traffic congestion.

The problem is so bad, in fact, that Minneapolis and St. Paul are near the upper reaches of that ranking, coming in tied for 23rd out of more than 100 American metropolitan areas.

The survey, called the 2015 Urban Mobility Scorecard and conducted by the Texas A & M Transportation Institute and INRIX Inc., found that traffic delays caused commuters across the nation to burn up more than 3 billion gallons of gas, and trapped them behind the wheel for almost 7 billion "extra" hours.

According to a news release, that averages out to 42 "extra" hours per rush-hour driver a year.

The total for Twin Cities drivers? 47 "extra" hours per year.

All this comes with a price tag, the release says – $160 billion per year, or an extra $960 per rush-hour commuter.

The study suggests that rush hour is worse than it's been in a long time, and that it will continue to get more congested.

What's behind the trend?

Your unpleasant drive to work may be tied to our recovery from the 2008 recession, as more people going to work means more cars on the road.

"The national economy has improved since the last Urban Mobility Scorecard, and unfortunately congestion has gotten worse," the researchers said, adding that traffic delays have returned to "pre-recession levels."

"Nearly all" of the 9 million jobs lost during the crash have been regained, they say, and the report shows the areas that experienced higher-than-average employment growth also saw the most growth in traffic congestion.

Still, bad commutes are "not just a big city problem," the study says, as even smaller areas have experienced a worsening rush hour.

While things have gotten unpleasant on Twin cities roads, it could be a lot worse – drivers in Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles, California, which both top the national list, are spending upwards of 80 extra hours in the cars per year.

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