How traffic jams cost the US economy billions of dollars a year

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If you’re like the 76% of Americans who drive to work alone, you’ve probably commuted in stop-and-go traffic with no end in sight. Then, when the road finally clears, you realize there was no reason for traffic to be stopped in the first place.

Experts call them “phantom traffic jams,” moments when traffic grinds to a standstill for no apparent reason.

That traffic comes at a big cost, in both time and money. A new study found the average urban commuter spends about 54 hours each year sitting in traffic. It also costs the U.S. economy a grand total of $179 billion each year, according to the Texas A&M Transportation Institute.

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