Deteriorating roads, cheaper gas and a stronger economy means traffic congestion has increased in many US cities. A new urban mobility study released by the Texas Transportation Institute [link] estimates that the average U.S. commuter spends an additional 42 hours per year on the road due to road conditions. This extra time and hassle increases commutes and the time available for listening.
[Scroll down to see the most on congested cities in the nation.]
This matters to radio broadcasters and all audio providers because around half of radio listening occurs on the road. The competition for listening in vehicles is increasing. Podcast usage and the increased availability of mobile audio streams threatens terrestrial radio in the place where it is still king: On the road.
According to the report, Americans drove a record number of miles in the last 12 months, surpassing the previous peak set in 2007. In 1982, motorists spent an average of 16 hours a year sitting in traffic jams. By 2010, that time had grown to 38 hours. Now the average is 42 hours.
Washington, D.C., has the worst gridlock in the country, with commuters captive for 82 hours a year stuck in traffic, nearly twice the national average. The other most congestion-plagued cities include Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York and San Jose.
Six of the country's 10 most congested stretches of highway are in metro Los Angeles, with two each in Chicago and New York City. The "worst" highway in the country is the Ventura Freeway (US 101) in the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles.
According to the 2015 Urban Mobility Scorecard, travel delays due to traffic congestion caused drivers to waste more than 3 billion gallons of fuel and kept travelers stuck in their cars for nearly 7 billion extra hours – 42 hours per rush-hour commuter. The total nationwide price tag: $160 billion, or $960 per commuter.
URBAN MOBILITY SCORECARD
Ranked by Congestion Hours