If you live or work in Los Angeles, congratulations: you commute through the most congested city in the world. According to the 2016 INRIX Global Traffic Scorecard, Los Angeles is now ranked #1 among the world’s most congested cities, surpassing Moscow, which held the #1 rank in 2015. INRIX estimates that Angelenos spend an average of 104 hours a year stuck in traffic during peak commuting times. That is more time spent in traffic than in any other city in the world. More time, even, than in the bottom 30 cities combined. The reported number is up from what it was in 2015, and will likely only continue to rise as Los Angeles grows ever more populated. So, what does increasing traffic congestion mean for the state of commuting in the most congested city in the world?
More Automobile Accidents.
A 2003 study by the State Highway Administration of Maryland found a positive correlation between traffic congestion and automobile accident frequency. That is, car accidents occurred much more frequently during peak traffic times, than during low traffic times. As Los Angeles’ traffic problem continues to grow, peak congestion times will extend further into the day on either end. With more cars on the road, and longer periods of traffic, the likelihood of being involved in a car accident and sustaining a personal injury will only increase.
More Air Pollution and Health Risks.
As traffic increases, so does time spent on the road, and the longer your car inches along in traffic, the more particulates and pollutants it emits. According to a University of Texas study, increased traffic congestion could lead to a significant increase in human health risks. As it is, Los Angeles already leads the nation in terms of air pollution and resulting health ramifications. Its steadily increasing traffic congestion problem could very well lead to even worse air pollution, and an ensuing uptick in asthma and lung disease.
Less Free Time.
Sitting in traffic is an often stressful, solitary, and unproductive experience. Each of the 104 hours that Angelenos spend in traffic is an hour that could be spent with friends or loved ones, engaged in more fun and relaxing activities. As the traffic problem in Los Angeles continues to worsen, commuters will spend more time alone in their cars, away from family and friends.
Hopefully, with improved public transportation infrastructure, Los Angeles will lose its rank as the most congested city in the world in future years. Then, Angelenos can begin to live happier and healthier lives.