Chicago commute among most unreliable in US, study says - FOX 35 News Orlando

Chicago commute among most unreliable in US, study says

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

An annual study of national driving patterns shows that Americans spent 5.5 billion additional hours sitting in traffic in 2011. For Chicago drivers, that's 51 hours wasted sitting in traffic.

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. The Urban Mobility Report also says clogged roads cost Americans $121 billion in time and fuel in 2011. Per commuter, an additional 24 gallons of gas is used in traffic, costing over $1,000.

The study says that the 10 most congested cities are Washington, Los Angeles, San Francisco-Oakland, New York-Newark, Boston, Houston, Atlanta, Chicago, Philadelphia and Seattle.

You don't have to tell drivers in Chicago that traffic is tough on commuters.

"Traffic is pretty bad," driver Angelica Prado says. "Just trying to get out of the city itself can take an hour on occasion."

"Really almost every day I'm stuck somewhere, more times than needed," says Keweski Ekem. "I'm always usually late even though I may leave my home almost an hour and a half early."

Experts believe much of the problem lies within a few major bottle necks across the city and suburbs.

"A couple are the I-80 corridor with all of the trucks," DePaul Transportation analyst Joe Schwieterman says. "The Hillside strangler on the outbound Eisenhower, we just can't fix that. And people feel the inbound Kennedy, inside of the Eden's is just a bad situation."

Some wonder why a city of this size would have so many traffic issues.

"We decided in this region to build fewer expressways than most regions and make them mega highways," Schwieterman explains. "Which means the system flows well, but when you have a disabled vehicle or an accident, the whole system chokes."

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.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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