Drivers in Chicago lost most time stuck in traffic: study

NHTSA highway safety deaths increase 10 percent 2020 2021 pandemic communtes rmeote work seatbelt
NHTSA highway safety deaths increase 10 percent 2020 2021 pandemic communtes rmeote work seatbelt

Chicago drivers spent more time in traffic than drivers in any other major U.S. city, a new study published Wednesday showed.

Drivers in the Windy City spent the equivalent of over four days, or 104 hours, in traffic this year. The city ranked second in the nation's most congested urban areas, behind only New York City, according to the 2021 Global Traffic Scorecard from Inrix, a mobility analytics company.

Traffic has not yet returned to pre-pandemic levels, but it still exacted a significant price in 2021: Inrix reported that congestion cost the average Chicago driver $1,622 in time wasted and the city as a whole $5.8 billion this year.

Globally, Chicago ranked sixth in congestion, with London reporting the highest impact from traffic in 2021, Inrix said.

While still below where it was in 2021, Chicago traffic this year has increased over 2020 numbers. Bob Pishue, a transportation analyst for Inrix, told The Chicago Tribune that increase could stem from Chicago's morning commute rebounding more strongly than it has in other cities.

Pishue added that solving the problem would require reducing demand on the roads during peak commuting times.

"Obviously, people need to take trips, especially those who don't have a choice or have to work multiple jobs and need to make those trips. Those should be accommodated," he said, per the Tribune. "But try to get some flexibility from drivers and employers and have government accommodate that and all work together."

Recently, the Biden administration has sought to lower record setting gas prices ahead of busy holiday travel seasons.

Last month, the administration tapped into the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and called on the Federal Trade Commission to investigate whether oil companies are responsible for increased prices.