GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — If you feel like you’re wasting more time stuck in Grand Rapids traffic, you’re right, according to a newly released report.
The Texas A&M Transportation Institute’s 2019 Urban Mobility Report says rush hour commuters in Grand Rapids lost 41 hours sitting in traffic in 2017, and the problem is only getting worse.
The study analyzed commute times during peak driving hours — 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Researchers say traffic backups cost each rush hour commuter in Grand Rapids an average of $654 in wasted gas and time, based on average worker wages.
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Grand Rapids’ congestion delays have been steadily rising since 1988, when rush hour commuters wasted 16 hours a year in traffic. That number reached 33 hours a decade later and 41 hours in 2016.
>>PDF: 2019 Urban Mobility Report
The study concluded the worst backups happen during the evening commute, specifically weekdays between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m., with 4 p.m. Friday being the peak time for traffic congestion each week.
If you think traffic is bad in Grand Rapids, you’ll want to avoid Detroit and Chicago. The report determined rush hour commuters in those cities wasted 61 hours and 73 hours in traffic in 2017, respectively. The city with the worst traffic congestion was Los Angeles, where commuters lost 119 hours sitting in traffic.
The report says since the Great Recession, more people have landed jobs or moved into cities and infrastructure upgrades can’t keep up. Traffic congestion has risen 1% to 3% each year, costing the average rush hour commuter an hour more in time annually. If population and job growth continue on the same path, the study concludes the national congestion cost will rise 20% by 2025, with the average commuter wasting 62 hours and 23 gallons of fuel while stuck in traffic.