In Pennsylvania and across the country, traffic congestion is getting worse. It costs Pennsylvanians billions of dollars each year in fuel, and countless hours waiting on the road. Moreover, the same vehicles that are clogging our roads are polluting our air, affecting our health and our environment.
Commuting in Pennsylvania
Despite major investments in our roads, gridlock is increasing on Pennsylvania’s highways, costing commuters billions of dollars each year. It’s estimated that congestion in the Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Lehigh Valley areas alone cost the economies of these regions a total of $2.5 billion in 2005. Most of that cost falls on commuters in lost time and increased gas expenses. In Pennsylvania, between 1990 and 2005:
- The number of highway miles traveled increased by 21 percent.
- Global warming pollution grew more than 20 percent.
- The amount of gasoline and diesel used grew 24 percent.
- The average annual amount a person spends on gasoline doubled.
Commuting in the U.S.
- There are 128.3 million commuters in the United States. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 9 out of 10 Americans drive to their jobs, and about 76 percent drive alone.
- Between 1980 and 2003, the U.S. population grew by 28 percent. The number of miles people drove increased by 89 percent.
- According to the 2005 Urban Mobility Report, congestion cost U.S. travelers 3.7 billion hours of delay and 2.3 billion gallons of wasted fuel, worth a total of $63.1 billion.
- The average American household uses almost three gallons of fuel per day.
- The average rush hour traveler uses an extra 28 gallons of fuel per year due to inefficient vehicle operation in congested conditions.
- Transportation accounts for more than 28 percent of America’s energy consumption and more than 25 percent of its air pollution.
- According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, transportation-related expenditures are second only to housing costs in terms of what the average American household spends money on—exceeding food, education, recreation and healthcare.
How People Commute
Although use of alternate transportation methods is growing, the vast majority of U.S. commuters still drive alone to work*: