The implications of traffic congestion around the world are tremendous
Time is money. And in cities where the daily commute in plagued by extreme traffic congestion, traffic is far more than a little – or large, inconvenience. It can have a significant impact on the city’s economy, provided that the traffic levels reach a certain threshold, as traffic can indicate a booming economy with many employed people seeking to reach their jobs, or it can be indicative of too many people unable to reach places of gainful employment, commercial centers, or other drivers of their region’s economic success.
Around the world, traffic is costing commuters, big time
In 2018, Bogota drivers lost more time due to traffic congestion than any other city in the world, a whopping 272 hours. The city, Colombia’s main economic engine, also exhibited a higher unemployment rate than any other city in the country.
In Boston, residents suffered from high costs associated with congestion, paying over $2,000 in gas, car repairs, lost time and other indirect purchases. This is even more astounding when taking into consideration the fact that the United States of America as a whole lost 97 hours and $87 million to congestion in time in 2018 alone, which averages out to roughly $1,348 per driver.
But that’s peanuts compared to the costs other countries are forced to pay due to traffic congestion:
227 hours of annual congestion costs London drivers roughly £1680 and in Hamburg, that cost amounts to €1,212.
Citizens around the world are wasting time and money while stuck in traffic, and it’s directly affecting their cities’ economies, big or small.
How congestion slows economic growth
With congestion comes road rage – drivers do not want to spend more time than absolutely necessary commuting to and from work. They may even opt out of higher-paying positions, in order to work closer to home, spend less time on the roads and more time with their loved ones.
Congestion also brings about greater wear and tear on the city’s infrastructure. Potholes, cracked roads, discolored traffic markings on the street and other issues arise, yet there is less time available for city workers to repair them, due to the heavy presence of vehicles on the road, and the extra hassle and frustration diverting commuters through other trajectories would cause. Not to mention the fact that these repairs and the jobs that must be filled to fulfill them cost the city money as well.
In addition, there’s a fine line between increases and decreases in consumer spending after sitting in terrible traffic. On the one hand, some shoppers feel that if they spent long enough in transit, they might as well make their excursion worth their while by making multiple purchases. On the other hand, the foul mood that standstill traffic can instill in the best of us can lead even the keenest shopper away from the stores and straight to a single indulgent eatery, where they’ll drown their sorrows before heading home – if they didn’t turn around mid-trip in the first place. And when taking into consideration the extra time and money spent simply by sitting in traffic (as described above), many would-be shoppers may recalculate their budgets and refrain from spending as much as they’d originally intended.
With Highroad, the future of mobility is more economically-friendly
Ever the innovation home for startups and entrepreneurship in the fields of smart cities and smart transportation, Highroad Innovation Center’s current cohort of accelerator start-ups are poised to enable smarter, more seamless maneuverability throughout cities around the world.
With start-ups such as ITC, a start-up developing a unique smart system designed to optimize traffic lights for more seamless and congestion-less transit, Roadsense, a start-up developing a powerful vehicle tracker, Slyde, a start-up using real-time data to maximize and manage transportation-related expenses and enable the modification and shortening of routes, and others, a future in which traffic routes can be easily personalized and modified to limit congestion and maximize drivers’ time and money, is well within sights. And that means your commute will cost you less – and earn your city’s economy more, benefiting all in the long-term.
For more information, visit highroad.center.