May 25, 2019

Road congestion is costing the U.S. billions and jobs

Traffic jams in California

Photo: David McNew/Getty Images

Memorial Day weekend is one of the busiest travel weekends, but nearly 47.5 million Americans will avoid road trips because of road congestion — costing the U.S. close to $30 billion and 248,000 jobs according to a survey by the U.S. Travel Association.

Why it matters: Most of the drivers surveyed said they would be willing to pay more to avoid road congestion, a public response that could prompt Congress to move faster on infrastructure development.

Key findings:

  • For every added hour of road congestion, there is an 18% drop in the number of Americans interested in traveling.
  • Two-thirds of travelers said they'd rather pay a few dollars each way of the trip than spend an added 1.5 to 2 hours in traffic.
  • Most drivers said an added gas tax would not deter them from traveling or negatively impact the experience.
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