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January 2018

Seattle's traffic congestion costs businesses nearly $50 million each year

TomTom Traffic logoWorsening traffic across the U.S. has a heavy economic cost, estimated to be in the billions every year according to a leading navigation and mapping company.

Seattle recently ranked 4th in a tally of top U.S. cities for snarled traffic, with only New York (#3), San Francisco (#2) and Los Angeles (#1) having worse congestion. Together with 5th ranked San Jose, researchers estimate the cost of congested traffic in the five worst cities is at least $1.75 billion annually.

Seattle's traffic congestion (53rd worst in the world) has increased 10 percent over the past eight years. In the latest analysis, using data from 2016, congestion added 40 minutes per day to drivers' trips. Annually, these delays equaled 152 hours of lost productivity, and was calculated to cost businesses $49.8 million each year. In Los Angeles, the toll is estimated to be $1.36 billion.

The latest TomTom Traffic Index covered 390 cities in 48 countries. Across the U.S., TomTom data show worsening traffic creates a daily productivity loss of 30,154 hours for employers.

The Index is published to provide drivers, industry and policy makers with unbiased information about congestion levels in urban areas. Along with its rankings, the company also offers ideas on ways congestion could be alleviated.

"Traffic congestion increases the probability of a driver becoming stuck on the road, wasting billable time, burning fuel, increasing emissions and potentially disappointing customers," said Torsten Grunzing, director of sales for TomTom Telematics North America.

Traffic Costs Chart

Source: TomTom Telematics