Study: Traffic costs Birmingham commuters $458M per year

Study: Traffic costs Birmingham commuters $458M per year

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Traffic on Highway 280. Source: WBRC video Traffic on Highway 280. Source: WBRC video
BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) -

It's no surprise Birmingham ranks high in a study about traffic congestion, but what is surprising is how much it's costing commuters.

From wasted time to drained gas tanks a new study from a nationally recognized traffic research group, says $458 million is going down the drain in Birmingham because of congestion.

"That's ridiculous," said Anna Reynolds of Birmingham.

According to the study done by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute, in one year commuters stuck in Alabama traffic will waste $773 worth of gas, a number that surprised most commuters. 

Camilo Zamora agreed. "That's absurd," he said.

Dr. Tim Lomax, who is head of the study, says that number is high.

"That ranks you 42nd in our study and you're the only 52nd largest area, so in essence you have a congestion level that's higher than your population would indicate," said Lomax.

And it's not just the $773 commuters are losing. Ty West with the Birmingham Business Journal says there is a loss of productivity from commuters being stuck in traffic, in addition to the affecting goods being shipped through our area. Many trucks also get stuck in the traffic, meaning the goods they're transporting are held up and not on the shelves to be sold.

Add all those factors in and Birmingham loses $458 million in year due to congestion.

"It's not shocking, it's unfortunate, not shocking," said Reynolds.

Atlanta, Nashville and Memphis all had worse congestion than Birmingham. Lomax says the construction along our roads have a lot to do with the problem. When the construction is over our number should come down.

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