A new report shows traffic congestion in the U.S. increased last year after two consecutive years of declines and is growing faster than the nation’s economy.
Traffic information and driver services provider Inrix says its 7th Annual Traffic Scorecard Report shows while the U.S. gross domestic product grew at an annual rate of 1.9% in 2013, traffic congestion increased approximately 6% compared to 2012, translating into more delays.
The report, which also details traffic congestion problems in Europe, is encouraging in another way.
“While bad news for drivers, the gains we've seen in the U.S. and Europe in 2013 are cause for optimism about the direction of the economy," says Bryan Mistele, INRIX president and CEO.
Countries and metropolitan areas experiencing economic growth and employment generally recorded increases in traffic congestion in 2013, says Inrix. U.S. cities at or above the national averages in employment growth such as like Austin, San Jose, Seattle and Boston experienced some of the biggest increases in traffic congestion.
U.S. cities that experienced some of the biggest declines in traffic congestion also were consistent to those where employment and economic growth were lagging compared to the national average including Youngstown, Albuquerque, Scranton, Toledo, Allentown and Washington D.C.
In 2013, 61 U.S. metro areas experienced increased traffic congestion, a big shift from 2012 where only six cities experienced increases, says Inrix. Nine of America's top ten cities for traffic experienced increases in 2013. The only city showing a decline was Washington D.C.