NJ traffic: You spend HOW MANY weeks sitting in it?
A new study confirms what many New Jersey drivers figured out a long time ago: the Garden State has some of the worst traffic in the nation, and it takes its toll on commuters and anyone who uses our major highways.
The 2015 Urban Mobility Scorecard report finds many New Jersey drivers spend close to two weeks a year stuck in a traffic jam.
"We have congestion estimates for the North Jersey area, about 74 hours wasted a year for commuters," said David Schrank a research scientist at the Texas A&M Transportation Institute.
He said if you're traveling into or near the Philadelphia area "the number drops as you go into South Jersey at about 48 hours a year per commuter, and parts of Central Jersey have about 24 hours wasted per year per commuter."
Schrank said all of this sitting in traffic costs money.
"If you put a price tag on what it means to a commuter in Northern Jersey, that comes to about over $1,700 a year lost in time and fuel and down near Philadelphia in Southern Jersey that number is a little over $1,100 a year," Schrank said.
The study finds the worst traffic congestion in the county is in the Washington DC region, where commuters are stuck wasting time in traffic about 82 hours a year, while Los Angeles follows a close second, with 80 hours lost per commuter on an annual basis.
Another part of the study also looked at how congestion effects the freight carried by trucks.
"We found the North Jersey area has the largest price tag for truck congestion in the U.S.," he said. "It's at about $2.8 billion wasted annually."
Schrank said transportation agencies in New Jersey are doing everything they can with the budgets available to them to deal with transportation issues like congestion.
"But there's a limited budget, so new capacity, new projects is something that is very difficult to, A - pay for, but B - even find locations where you can add facilities," he said.
According to Schrank, most areas in the nation are turning towards using management and different technologies to try and improve on the performance on what they already have, as well as trying to include more options for mass transit.
Schrank also said that encouraging telecommuting and compressed work week schedules can help to remove traffic from our roadways, which is another option in dealing with congestion.
"If you can't add capacity, hopefully you can eliminate some trips," Schrank said.
He said the bottom line is that in the Garden State "congestion is here to stay and it's going to a concerted effort by everyone using every possible means to do anything about it. We are not going to build a system that does not have congestion, we're going to have to manage and operate and find new and improved ways to deal with the problem."