Austin wins worst traffic for cities of similar size in 2020, despite pandemic

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(photo: Wikimedia Commons)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — For cities with populations between one and three million, Austin takes the cake for lost time, gas used and spending money due to traffic, that’s according to Texas A&M’s urban mobility report for this year.

Austin drivers saw an average of 41 extra hours sitting on the road because of traffic. That’s actually down from an average 68 hours in 2019, but higher than the average for a city our size which would be closer to 28 hours.

No surprise here, that means more fuel consumption for you, the people who live and work in Austin. Our city tied with four others; Cleveland, Oklahoma City, Sacramento and San Antonio, for extra fuel usage per person.

But we were top of the list when it comes to total excess fuel used at 18 million gallons.

So what does this all mean for your wallet? As they say, time is money. Austin drivers spent an average $945 a year because of traffic. The good news is, that’s down. In 2019, the per driver estimate was $1,520.

National trends

Nationwide, COVID-19 affected traffic uniquely this year across the board, according to that report.

They say in the first couple of months there were what they consider regular, then because of COVID-19 lockdowns traffic dropped. Then until the virus cases began to flatten in summer. After traffic began to return in summer a period of “closer to normal” hit while shorter rush hours returned in most cities.

“The trends were different at the regional level, but every area saw much more change than any other
report period,” the report said. “Congestion levels in early 2021 are at least a decade behind where they were in 2019.”

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