The High Cost of Congestion

The downturn eased traffic tie-ups, but we're still stalling

Transportation expert Alan Pisarski used to say the only solution for the U.S.'s traffic problems would be a 10% unemployment rate. Not quite. Downturns do ease slowdowns, but there's a slight curve to the relationship. A recent study from the Texas Transportation Institute found that Americans still spend an extra 34 hours a year in their cars because of traffic. The reason: although fewer people are working, more Americans are taking jobs farther from their homes. The TTI expects tie-ups to climb as the economy improves. Coincidentally, President Obama recently proposed spending $50 billion to upgrade our infrastructure, which might ease...

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