Traffic

Feel like your life is wasting away sitting in Miami traffic? This study confirms it

Traffic woes along U.S. 1 in South Miami-Dade

The morning commute for drivers in South Miami-Dade along US-1 North is full of stops and stalls. This time-lapse video shows how part of the drive, an 11.5-mile stretch along US-1 North, took 62 minutes on a recent Thursday morning, April 20, 201
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The morning commute for drivers in South Miami-Dade along US-1 North is full of stops and stalls. This time-lapse video shows how part of the drive, an 11.5-mile stretch along US-1 North, took 62 minutes on a recent Thursday morning, April 20, 201

If it feels like your life is wasting away while you’re sitting in Miami traffic, you’re not imagining things.

Miami metro area drivers waste more than four days of their life a year sitting in traffic, according to a new study.

If you live to age 75, it means you will have lost 300 days of your life behind someone’s bumper in the Magic City and its environs.

The Miami area ranked 12th among U.S. cities for annual hours lost by commuters, according to INRIX, a Seattle-based transportation data group that puts out an annual benchmark congestion study. The data put Miami just behind Atlanta. Boston, Washington D.C. and Chicago round out the top-three-worst places to drive.

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INRIX

INRIX calculated that the annual cost of congestion per Miami driver comes to $1,470—or $4 billion a year for the region. To determine the cost, it multiplied the Federal Highway Administration’s daily national cost of sitting in traffic, about $14, by Miami’s annual hours spent in traffic, 105. INRIX then multiplied the annual cost of $1,470 by the number of commuters in the region, about 2.7 million, to come up with a regional impact of almost $3.97 billion. It gathered its data fromGPS trackers in cars and phones, but without identifying the owners.

INRIX defines Miami from southern Palm Beach County to south Miami-Dade.

If there’s any consolation for Miami drivers, it’s that other metro areas now have worse congestion than Miami, which fell to 12th place from ninth place in 2018.

But it’s a Pyrrhic victory: INRIX’s Trevor Reed said the places where congestion is getting worse are “boom cities that have strong tech sectors.”

Fontainebleau hotel housekeeper Odelie Paret can spend up to four hours getting to work on county buses. Her story is common in the Miami-Dade County hospitality world where high rents in the county have pushed workers farther away from their jobs

Reed said the solution to cities’ congestion problems would not likely be found in building more roads.

“Building new road infrastructure is prohibitively expensive in most contexts, and can’t be expanded fast enough or scale enough to combat congestion effectively,” he said. “Most cities are growing too fast.”

Instead, he argued, cities should double down on what Reed refers to smarter roads and increased “mobility.” That means incorporating new transportation options like rental e-scooters like Lime and Bird, adding more bike lanes, and re-designing street parking to accommodate rideshare services like Uber and Lyft. Reed also suggested bus rapid transit as a more-affordable public transit solution.

“A lot of cities with the worst congestion are asking themselves, ‘How do we manage roads we have and make them the most efficient and provide the most benefits to the most people?’” Reed said.

Until that happens, Reed’s best advice: Leave 15 minutes earlier getting to work, and 15 minutes later going home. This can allow you to avoid most congestion—and possibly add years back to your lifespan.

Ford will be launching a fleet of self-driving cars in Miami on Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2018. Mayor Carlos Gimenez hopes self-driving cars will help alleviate Miami’s traffic problems.

Rob Wile covers business, tech, and the economy in South Florida. He is a graduate of Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism. He grew up in Chicago.


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