Houston has Sixth-Most Expensive Commute in U.S.

by Peter Thomas Ricci

Commuters waste dozens of hours and thousands of dollars due to Houston’s traffic problems


Houston is home to many things: lovely bayous; a rich, vibrant economy; and, according to new research, some of the worst, most expensive traffic in the U.S.

The latest study from Texas A&M’s Transportation Institute found that Houston has the ninth-worst traffic congestion in the country, with the average Houstonian wasting 61 hours a year in gridlock, and accruing an additional $1,490 in commuting expenses; despite its No. 9 ranking, that commuting expensive is the sixth highest in the country (and only $1 behind fifth-place Seattle).

Traffic Congestion in America

Nationwide, commuters waste a total of 6.9 billion hours behind the wheel. That comes out to an average of 42 hours, up from just 18 in 1982.

Traffic is also worsening in more cities, as the economy improves and more workers hit the road. From 2013 to 2014, traffic congestion intensified in 95 of the nation’s 100 largest cities, up from 61 from 2012 to 2013.

Here are the top 10 from Texas A&M’s report:

City Wasted Commuter Hours Additional Commuter Expense
1. Washington, D.C. 82 $1,834
2. Los Angeles/Long Beach/Anaheim 80 $1,711
3. San Francisco/Oakland 78 $1,675
4. New York/Newark 74 $1,739
5. San Jose 67 $1,422
6. Boston 64 $1,388
7. Seattle 63 $1,491
8. Chicago 61 $1,445
9. Houston 61 $1,490
10. Riverside/San Bernardino 57 $1,316

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