Our Grade: D The average car commuter in the Central Maryland region wastes 47 hours each year in traffic congestion.
Definition: This indicator measures the number of hours of travel delay an average car commuter experiences due to congestion.
Reason: This is an indicator of whether our transportation system is keeping you and your environment healthy. Increased congestion means longer commute times, excess fuel consumption, and increased vehicle emissions. It is also indicative of inefficient land use policies, sprawl, and a mismatch between where workers live and where the best jobs are located.
Who's Doing It Better?: San Diego. This indicator is complex, because congestion can also be a sign of economic health. Driving at rush hour gets better during a recession, but for the wrong reasons. Drivers in the Cleveland, St. Louis and Pittsburgh regions experience less congestion than drivers in the Baltimore region, but they also have slower economic growth. The San Diego region gets it right. Their economy grew faster than the Baltimore region's economy from 2001-2014 (as shown in this table here) but the average driver spends 11% less time idling in traffic.