Upzoned

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February 15, 2019  

Forget Gas and Insurance. How Much Does Your Daily Commute Really Cost You?

February 15, 2019

If you’re like most working Americans, you probably brave your daily commute by car—and you may well spend a good chunk of that commute trapped in the kind of mind-numbing traffic that no podcast, no matter how excellent, can combat. And according to one new report, your will to live isn’t the only thing being drained when you’re stuck behind the wheel. Your bank account is, too.

At least that’s what this year’s INRIX Global Traffic Scorecard claims. And when they say that the average worker is literally losing wages while they crawl up the interstate, they have a very specific number in mind: an average of $1,348 per commuter per year.

But not everyone is buying that math.

In a new article from Planetizen, author Todd Litman shares his skepticism with how INRIX arrived at their claims about the costs of congestion, and what they really mean for American workers. But Strong Towns wants to take it a step further—and in this episode of Upzoned, we talk about those times when, contrary to our mantra, it’s not always wise to #dothemath. (At least, not the kind of specious math that the INRIX study used to come up with numbers like $1,348.)

Join Upzoned host Kea and guest Daniel Herriges as they discuss the real costs of problematic traffic studies like the INRIX scorecard: unnecessarily overbuilt road systems, destroyed neighborhoods, and long-term maintenance obligations that our places can’t afford (and make it a heck of a lot harder to do the kind of things that would really make working Americans richer). Then in the downzone, Kea and Daniel talk about their favorite recent watches, from a very unfortunate children’s show to an Oscar-nominated and artistically innovative documentary about life in rural Alabama.