Study: Mi­ami driv­ers spend 4 days of life in traf­fic a year

South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Sunday) - - Money - By Rob Wile The Mi­ami Her­ald

If it feels like your life is wast­ing away while you’re sit­ting in Mi­ami traf­fic, you’re not imag­in­ing things.

Mi­ami-area driv­ers waste more than four days of their life a year sit­ting in traf­fic, ac­cord­ing to a new study.

If you live to age 75, it means you will have lost 300 days of your life be­hind some­one’s bumper in the Magic City and its en­vi­rons.

The Mi­ami area ranked 12th among U.S. ci­ties for an­nual hours lost by com­muters, ac­cord­ing to INRIX, a Seat­tle­based trans­porta­tion data group that puts out an an­nual bench­mark con­ges­tion study. The data put Mi­ami just be­hind Atlanta. Bos­ton, Washington D.C. and Chicago round out the top-three-worst places to drive.

INRIX cal­cu­lated that the an­nual cost of con­ges­tion per Mi­ami driver comes to $1,470 — or $4 bil­lion a year for the re­gion. To de­ter­mine the cost, it mul­ti­plied the Fed­eral High­way Ad­min­is­tra­tion’s daily na­tional cost of sit­ting in traf­fic, about $14, by Mi­ami’s an­nual hours spent in traf­fic, 105. INRIX then mul­ti­plied the an­nual cost of $1,470 by the num­ber of com­muters in the re­gion, about 2.7 mil­lion, to come up with a re­gional im­pact of al­most $3.97 bil­lion. It gath­ered its data fromGPS track­ers in cars and phones, but with­out iden­ti­fy­ing the own­ers.

INRIX de­fines Mi­ami from south­ern Palm Beach County to south Mi­ami-Dade.

If there’s any con­so­la­tion for Mi­ami driv­ers, it’s that other metro ar­eas now have worse con­ges­tion than Mi­ami, which fell to 12th place from ninth place in 2018.

But it’s a Pyrrhic vic­tory: INRIX’s Trevor Reed said the places where con­ges­tion is get­ting worse are “boom ci­ties that have strong tech sec­tors.”

Reed said the so­lu­tion to ci­ties’ con­ges­tion prob­lems would not likely be found in build­ing more roads.

“Build­ing new road in­fra­struc­ture is pro­hib­i­tively ex­pen­sive in most con­texts, and can’t be ex­panded fast enough or scale enough to com­bat con­ges­tion effectively,” he said. “Most ci­ties are grow­ing too fast.”

In­stead, he ar­gued, ci­ties should dou­ble down on what Reed refers to smarter roads and in­creased “mo­bil­ity.” That means in­cor­po­rat­ing new trans­porta­tion op­tions like rental e-scoot­ers like Lime and Bird, adding more bike lanes, and re-de­sign­ing street park­ing to ac­com­mo­date rideshare ser­vices like Uber and Lyft. Reed also sug­gested bus rapid

transit as a more-af­ford­able pub­lic transit so­lu­tion.

“A lot of ci­ties with the worst con­ges­tion are ask­ing them­selves, ‘How do we man­age roads we have and make them the most ef­fi­cient and pro­vide the most ben­e­fits to the most peo­ple?’ ” Reed said.

Un­til that hap­pens, Reed’s best ad­vice: Leave 15 min­utes ear­lier get­ting to work, and 15 min­utes later go­ing home. This can al­low you to avoid most con­ges­tion — and pos­si­bly add years back to your life­span.

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