Gridlock Driving Up Wasted Time

Traffic backs up on the downtown connector in Atlanta in this Aug. 25, 1998 file photo.
AP
If getting stuck in traffic makes you want to roll down your car window and scream, look no further than another of those studies to find the bad news: Gridlock is getting worse.

Congestion delayed travelers 79 million more hours and wasted 69 million more gallons of fuel in 2003 than in 2002, the Texas Transportation Institute's 2005 Urban Mobility Report found.

Overall in 2003, there were 3.7 billion hours of travel delay and 2.3 billion gallons of wasted fuel for a total cost of more than $63 billion.

"Urban areas are not adding enough capacity, improving operations or managing demand well enough to keep congestion from growing," the report concluded.

Still, seven of 13 major cities saw their annual delays per rush-hour traveler actually go down slightly: Los Angeles, San Francisco, Dallas, Miami, New York, Houston and Philadelphia.

Los Angeles easily tops the chart, CBS News Correspondent Jerry Bowen reports.

Yearly rush-hour delays for each motorist declined from 98 hours in 2002 to 93 hours one year later, but were still longer than any other city in the country. San Francisco had the nation's second-longest delays, declining from 75 hours in 2002 to 72 hours in 2003.

Joy Stanton told Bowen while fueling up that her driving woes extend far beyond just sitting in traffic: "Traffic is a nightmare; gas is out of control and the violence is out of control, too."

Even driving in paradise is no picnic. Honolulu became the 51st city in which rush-hour traffic delayed the average motorist at least 20 hours a year. The Hawaiian capital joins such congested areas as Washington, Atlanta, Boston, Chicago — and Virginia Beach, Va., Omaha, Neb., and Colorado Springs, Colo.

The report was released Monday, the same day the Senate resumes debate on a bill that would spend $284 billion on highways over the next six years.

But that's not enough money to solve traffic problems, according to highway and transit advocates.