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NYC congestion not the worst in U.S.

Traffic on the Long Island Expressway near Melville.

Traffic on the Long Island Expressway near Melville. (Sept. 17, 2010) Photo Credit: Jim Staubitser

Sitting in seemingly endless traffic on the LIE or the BQE may drive you crazy, but take heart New Yorkers. There are commuters from nine other cities where it's worse.

According to the 2010 Urban Mobility Report released Thursday by the Texas Transportation Institute at Texas A&M University, calculating the "congestion cost" for consumers -- the value of the time delayed, at $16 an hour per person and $106 an hour for lost truck time, plus the cost of excess fuel consumption -- finds that some Chicago commuters paid more than $1,700 in 2009 to get to and from work.

By comparison, in the New York metro area drivers spent 42 hours in 2009 in traffic, which equated to 32 gallons of fuel for an estimated $999.

Other fun facts:

* Cost to the average commuter in the United States: $808 in 2009, compared with an inflation-adjusted $351 in 1982.

* Congestion costs continue to rise, from $24 billion in 1982 to $115 billion in 2009 (in constant 2009 dollars).

* Total amount of wasted fuel in 2009 topped 3.9 billion gallons -- equal to 130 days of flow in the Alaska Pipeline.

* Yearly peak delay for the average commuter was 34 hours in 2009, up from 14 hours in 1982.

Here are the top five metro regions by congestion cost in 2009:

1. Chicago - $1,738
2. Washington, D.C. - $1,555
3. Los Angeles, Long Beach, Santa Ana, Calif. - $1,464
4. Houston - $1,322
5. San Francisco-Oakland, Calif. - $1,112
6. Boston - N.H. - R.I. - $ 1,112
7. Dallas - Fort Worth - Arlington, Texas - $1,077
8. Seattle - $1,056
9. Atlanta - $1,046
10. New York-Newark, N.J. - Conn. - $999

Click here to see the congestion chart | Click here for the full report

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