How Bad Is Your Traffic?

The next time you are stuck in traffic, consider the following: sitting in a traffic jam is not just annoying, it’s expensive. And it’s only going to get worse.

Traffic congestion causes the average commuter in the U.S. to spend an extra 34 hours of travel time (the equivalent of four vacation days) and use 28 extra gallons of fuel (2 weeks  worth for the average U.S. driver) which amounts to an average cost of $808 per commuter. Add it all up nationwide: in 2009, congestion caused urban Americans to travel 4.8billion hours more and to purchase an extra 3.9 billion gallons of fuel for a total congestion cost of$115 billion.

If you are under the impression that the problem gets worse every year, you are right:

  • The 34 hours of peak period delay in 2009 was up from 14 hours in 1982.
  • The 28 gallons of fuel wasted in 2009 was up from 12 gallons in 1982.
  • “Rush hour” is now a complete misnomer: it lasted 6 hours in 2009 and now takes place on weekends and in rural areas.

While, the recent economic slowdown also slowed the growth of traffic congestion, transportation experts predict the respite will be short lived. But this recent dip also points the way to the basic solution: to lessen congestion, get the cars off the road.

Of course, no one wants the solution to our traffic problems to be fewer people working, shopping, taking vacations, etc. Experts who have studied the problem say there is no single, simple, silver bullet suggestion. Rather, the solution lies in a balanced and diversified approach– one that focuses on more of everything: more traffic systems, better operations and an increased number of travel alternatives.

Changing commuting patterns so there are fewer cars in traditional “rush hours” is clearly part of the solution. Flexible work hours and teleworking options get employees off the roads and make it possible to develop work schedules that meet family needs and the needs of their jobs.

Avaya recently worked with a law firm in Dallas that adopted teleworking for its employees two days a week. The results were significant: a one-third reduction in overhead costs (the law firm was able to take out a new lease at a smaller office in a different area), nearly $60,000 saved in commuting costs, and a reduction of nearly 40 tons of pollutants.  (To learn more, see the Urban Mobility Report 2010 at www.mobility.tamu.edu)

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About Vic Levinson
Telecommunications and IT professional with over 20 years experience in Business Telecommunications. Specializing in voice over IP (VoIP) for business: hosted VoIP, business VoIP phone systems, SIP providers, carriers, T1's - the works. Founded Prime Telecommunications in 1993 and providing business communications solutions. Cloud Applications- everything from hosted network security, hosted Disaster Recovery, hosted printer management, data centers and colocation solutions for businesses.

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