The Cost of Traffic

The Texas Department of Transportation has released a report (“100 Most Congested Roadway Segments in Texas“) that looks at the most congested stretches of road in Texas. It was especially interest to see their analysis of how many hours of delays each stretch created. For example, the worst roadway (I-35 W north of downtown Fort Worth) eats up about 1.1 million hours of Texans’ lives every year.

We often treat traffic congestions as an irritant. However, it’s much more and it costs people hours they could be spending doing something more productive (and pretty much anything is more productive than sitting in traffic). Economists talk about “opportunity costs.” These¬†the benefits you give up in order to do something. In the case of traffic, opportunity costs are the money you could be making or the fun you could be having if you weren’t sitting in traffic.

So, it’s not just gas you’re burning if you’re sitting in traffic.


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