New York City Tops Global Traffic Congestion List, Costing Billions in Lost Time

New York City Tops Global Traffic Congestion List, Costing Billions in Lost Time

New York City has been ranked as the world’s most congested city for the second consecutive year, costing drivers 101 hours in traffic and the economy $9.1 billion in 2023, according to the INRIX Global Traffic Scorecard.

New York, Bollywood Fever: New York City has been crowned the most congested place to drive in the world for the second consecutive year, according to the INRIX 2023 Global Traffic Scorecard. The report, which analyzed peak speed and free-flow speed data for the busiest commuting corridors globally, found that drivers in the Big Apple spent a staggering 101 hours delayed in traffic jams last year.

This congestion has significant economic implications, costing the economy $9.1 billion in lost time, the report revealed. “Traffic congestion is both a bane and a barometer of economic health; it symbolizes bustling activity yet simultaneously hampers it,” Bob Pishue, a transportation analyst at INRIX, told Bloomberg. “The surge in traffic congestion in urban areas indicated a revival of economic hubbub post-COVID, but it also led to billions of dollars in lost time for drivers.”

New York City Tops Global Traffic Congestion List, Costing Billions in Lost Time

Mexico City came in second, followed by London, Paris, and Chicago. The rankings were determined based on the influence of congestion relative to population. The report noted that traffic congestion cost the U.S. over $70.4 billion in 2023, with drivers losing an average of 42 hours stuck in gridlock.

Interestingly, the report highlighted that trips into downtown Manhattan increased by 13 percent in 2023, with vehicles driving at an average speed of just 11 mph during peak morning hours. “Although congestion is returning to pre-COVID levels, we’re seeing interesting changes in congestion patterns due to the lingering effects of the pandemic,” Pishue added. “The continuation of hybrid and remote work is creating new travel peaks from what we’ve seen previously.”

The congestion rankings come just weeks after New York Governor Kathy Hochul halted the Manhattan congestion pricing plan. The system, years in the making, aimed to reduce traffic, raise billions of dollars for improvements to the city’s aging subways, and decrease midtown gridlock and air pollution.

Under the plan, commuters in cars, SUVs, and pick-up trucks would have been charged $15 a day to enter Manhattan below 60th Street. Trucks would face tolls ranging from $24 to $36, depending on size, while motorcyclists would be charged a $7.50 fee. Taxi and rideshare drivers would also have to add $1.25 and $2.50, respectively, to their ride totals.

However, Governor Hochul tabled the plan indefinitely, citing the current economic struggles of New Yorkers. “Now is not the right time to inflict the sky-high tolls on New Yorkers who are already struggling to make ends meet,” she stated.

As urban areas continue to grapple with traffic congestion, the need for effective solutions remains critical to mitigate the economic and social impacts of gridlock on daily life.

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