New Report: D.C. Area Really Does Have the Worst Traffic in the U.S.

By Adam Tuss
|  Tuesday, Feb 5, 2013  |  Updated 8:23 PM EDT
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Washington, D.C. has the worst traffic congestion in the nation, according to a new report from the Texas A&M Transportation Institute.

Adam Tuss

Washington, D.C. has the worst traffic congestion in the nation, according to a new report from the Texas A&M Transportation Institute.

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It's an honor no metro area wants, and it's all D.C.'s: We have the worst traffic congestion in the nation.

That's according to a new report from the Texas A&M Transportation Institute, released Tuesday, reports News4 Transportation Reporter Adam Tuss.

The D.C. region's traffic is worse than chronically choked L.A., San Francisco and New York, the report says.

"It's pretty bad -- most of the time it's pretty bad," said driver Lisa Tilcott. "I have a short commute, but I have been in it a lot and don't like it."

The Institute's new Urban Mobility Report contains data from 2011. And it says D.C.-area drivers wasted an average of 67 hours that year stuck in traffic.

That's almost two full work weeks spent behind the wheel each year.

All that sitting around wastes about 32 gallons of gas. Overall, the congestion cost -- including wasted gas and time -- per commuter, per year around here is almost $1,400.

The report also says we have the most unreliable roads in the region when it comes to travel time. A trip that would take you 20 minutes in the middle of the night could take 2 hours during a rush hour.

Across the nation, traffic congestion costs drivers $121 billion, or $818 per commuter, in gas and lost time. And the additional carbon dioxide emissions from traffic congestion equalled 56 billion pounds nationwhide -- about 380 pounds per auto commuter.

Congestion across the nation is actually down from its peak in 2005, the report says, though the Institute said that was likely a result of a slower U.S. economy and that congestion may worsen as the economy improves.

In the D.C. area, drivers have their own thoughts about why the ride is so tough.

"Too many people driving and not enough highway bandwidth -- that's the reason," said Phil Ledwell.

Others try and avoid the main roads like the Beltway.

"It's a couple of miles and I end up stuck n traffic, so I go the back way," said Matt Martin.

And still others are resigned to the slow roll.

"It's pretty bad, but I think it's something you deal with living in the area," said Adriana Dufflin. "You just suck it up."

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