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Study: Seattle drivers may have lost up to 138 hours last year due to traffic


Seattle drivers may not want to hear how long they spent in traffic over the course of year, but a company has nonetheless put a number on it: 138 hours.

That’s how long a Seattle-area driver who commuted during the slowest time of day would have lost, at least according to INRIX, the worldwide traffic-data firm based in Kirkland. If you cleverly found a way to avoid rush hour and not always drive during the worst time, your number was likely much lower.

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That 138 hours — which could have been spent learning a new language or building a model railroad — actually placed Seattle congestion sixth in the nation behind Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and Boston at number one with 164 hours, reports The Seattle Times.

To calculate the numbers, INRIX determined the worst daily drive from the outer edge of the metro area to the city core, and then compared that to ideal traffic conditions.

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In addition to finding out how much time we wasted, INRIX also assigned a cost to that time lost based upon Federal Department of Transportation time loss valuations. Seattle drivers reportedly lost $1,932 due to congestion, and the city itself $2.9 billion. Those are numbers to think about as you’re arriving late for work.

The city has bandied about numerous proposals to mitigate Seattle congestion, including congestion tollingblocking-the-box tickets, and the general push toward transit and bike lanes. Seattle also came in sixth last year for hours lost to congestion, so it remains to be seen if we’ll ever have the pleasure of not regularly ranking high up on national traffic studies.

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