NJ traffic costs you way more than you probably think
A new report finds the average American wastes 42 hours a year stuck in traffic, but if you’re a resident of North or Central Jersey, that total may be even higher.
According to the study, conducted by the Auto Insurance Center, residents in the North Jersey and New York area waste 74 hours a year, while drivers living in the Central Jersey and Philadelphia area spend 48 hours a year in traffic jams.
If you live and work in the Trenton area, you only spend 23.6 hours stuck in traffic, according to the report.
“This is a very significant and disturbing. People are spending a lot of time stuck in traffic and wasting quality time with their family when they could be doing something else,” said Tracy Noble, the manager of public and government affairs for AAA Midatlantic.
She said if you’re commuting through North Jersey, you’re spending so much time in jam-ups that “over a lifetime you’re wasting 6.2 months of your life on commuting, which is it’s insane that you’re not doing other things and simply enjoying life.”
Noble pointed out with so many road projects now on hold because there’s no funding for the Transportation Trust Fund, many communities have been forced to set up detours, so a trip that normally takes 20 minutes is now a lot longer.
“You’re now spending an hour, an hour and a half behind the wheel of your vehicle. You get very frustrated. You start thinking about everything else you could be doing and that only adds to road rage and then it adds to multi-tasking behind the wheel,” she said. “All of these things that we shouldn’t be doing, we start doing behind the wheel because we’re wasting so much time in the vehicle.”
She added not having sufficient road and bridge repair funds will “delay everyone’s commute even further. It’s going to re-route motorists onto other roads that are now going to deteriorate at a more rapid pace. It’s very onerous on New Jersey residents.”
The study finds drivers in the Washington D.C. area spent the most time stuck in traffic jams, an average of 82 hours last year, and several parts of California are almost as congested as the North Jersey and New York area.
The report also finds the average North Jersey commuter winds up paying $1,739 in wasted time and fuel costs, while those in the Central Jersey and Philly area pay $1,112. Trenton drivers shell out $532.
“The amount of time wasted, the amount of money wasted is significant. It’s a burden on drivers all over the Garden state,” Noble said.
The Auto Insurance Center, an insurance information website, analyzed traffic data from INRIX and the Texas A&M Transportation Institute, as well as figures from the U.S. Census Bureau and U.S. Energy Information Service, to determine findings used in the report.