Traffic Woes

New report clocks just how much time Dallasites waste in traffic

New report clocks just how much time Dallasites waste in traffic

Dallas, Interstate 75, traffic, traffic jam, congestion
Dallas-Fort Worth commuters waste 53 hours in traffic each year. Texas Transportation Institute

Traffic is one of the biggest headaches in the city — but a new report reveals it's maybe not as bad as we thought. The Texas A&M Transportation Institute's 2015 Urban Mobility Scorecard delves into the real cost of traffic in Dallas-Fort Worth and across the country.

According to the report, each DFW commuter wastes 53 hours per year in traffic. The average for very large cities with populations over 3 million (such as Los Angeles, Chicago and Boston) is 63 hours, placing DFW below the average and at No. 7 for the worst congestion among this demographic. When you think about driving in New York or Los Angeles though, that's not surprising.

The scorecard also explains how much longer it takes to get somewhere during peak flow times versus free flow times. The ratio for Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington is 1.27, meaning a commute that should take about 30 minutes takes closer to 40 minutes during high traffic times.

But it's not just about wasting time on the roads. The scorecard also looked at exactly how much dough we're spending by calculating the yearly congestion cost per auto commuter. Combine how much gas we waste during commutes with the value of our travel time delay, and each DFW commuter is throwing away $1,185. 

According to the Texas A&M Traffic Institute, it will take quite a bit to fix our mobility issues. "Our growing traffic problem is too massive for any one entity to handle — state and local agencies can't do it alone," said report co-author Tim Lomax in a release.

"Businesses can give their employees more flexibility in where, when and how they work; individual workers can adjust their commuting patterns; and we can have better thinking when it comes to long-term land use planning. This problem calls for a classic 'all-hands-on-deck' approach."

The problem isn't one faced by Dallas-Fort Worth alone. Commuters in Houston and Austin waste 61 hours and 45 hours per year, respectively. San Antonio has it slightly better, at 44 hours wasted per year.