The 2015 traffic index is out and, once again, the Seattle-area is ranked among the worst for traffic congestion in the nation. Seattle is the 7th worst congested city in America. For those who commute in and around Seattle, the result should come as no surprise.
According to the yearly study conducted by Inrix and the Texas A&M Transportation Institute, Seattle-area drivers spent a whopping 63 hours—more than two full days—stuck in traffic last year. Seattle drivers also wasted about 28 gallons of fuel every year due to congestion. To put it in a monetary perspective, the average Seattle-area residents wasted $1,491 on traffic last year—a number based on the cost of delays and added fuel consumption.
Seattle-area delays and costs have not increased significantly over the last ten years. According to MyNorthwest.com, “Seattleites have been wasting around 60 hours and $1,500 a year because of traffic since about 2003.” That fact reflects just how unconcerned state and local officials are with prioritizing traffic congestion relief.
Reducing traffic congestion has not been listed as a transportation priority in Washington State since 2007. That’s because, in 2007, with Democrats in control of all the levers of state government (the Governor’s office and both legislative bodies), these partisan lawmakers created a list of six goals of transportation policy and removed congestion as a funding priority for the state. During the 2015 legislative session, thanks to the Republican Senate majority, reducing congestion was added back in as a priority of transportation policy.
The study wraps-up its findings with a dire forecast. Americans can expect the average commuting delay to grow 47 hours by 2020.