Study Also Found Commuters' Wasted Time In Traffic Costs $121B

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — An annual study of national driving patterns shows that Americans spent 5.5 billion additional hours sitting in traffic in 2011.

The Texas A&M Transportation Institute released a report Tuesday that found Americans are adapting to road congestion by allowing, on average, an hour to make a trip that would take 20 minutes without traffic.

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“I drive ten hours a day, I spend six hours in traffic a day,” said cab driver Khaled Shalavi.

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“You burn up your time, you burn up your energy and you burn up your fuel, so it’s a lose-lose situation for everybody,” said Fresh Meadows resident Tamir Orgad.

The Urban Mobility Report also said clogged roads cost Americans $121 billion in time and fuel in 2011.

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“As bad as traffic jams are, it’s even more frustrating that you can’t depend on traffic jams being consistent from day-to-day. This unreliable travel is costly for commuters and truck drivers moving goods,” Bill Eisele, researcher and report co-author, said in a statement.

The study found of the 10 most congested cities, the New York-Newark area came in fourth. Also making the top 10 are Washington, Los Angeles, San Francisco-Oakland, Boston, Houston, Atlanta, Chicago, Philadelphia and Seattle.

The report is one of the key tools used by experts to solve traffic problems. But the institute advises that every community has unique challenges and require different, multi-faceted approaches to solving congestion.

As traffic continues to worsen, the study also showed drivers are adapting by building in extra time to their trips.

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