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Ellen Goldberg, NBC 5 News
A new study from Texas A&M ranks the Dallas-Fort Worth area 13th in the nation for traffic congestion.
North Texans spend a lot of time tied up in traffic, but Dallas-Fort Worth doesn’t rank in the top 10 most congested in the country.
The Dallas-Arlington-Fort Worth area is ranked 13th in a new study by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute. It also shows DFW is the 13th most stressful area for our 3 million commuters.
Congestion comes at a cost for commuters who traveled 60 million miles of freeways in North Texas in 2011.
In the recent 2011 study year, local drivers lost $957 in wasted time and fuel and spent 45 hours stuck in traffic. It’s the 6th worst congestion cost in the country, considering gas is $0.74 per gallon more expensive than five years ago.
Drivers time is also more valuable, in this study, estimated at $16.79 per hour.
“Traffic, it’s thick out there,” said Dallas driver Deroyce Freeman. “Gas is so high, we’re wasting time on the freeways, the traffic.”
It’s the first year researchers looked at the reliability of the commute time in North Texas, which ranked 11th.
For a 20-minute freeway commute, drivers have to allow 80 minutes to ensure you’ll make it on time. Researchers said it’s factors like bad weather, a crash or construction that we can’t control added to an already stressed road system that causes the problem.
Researchers said other areas have seen a slowdown in congestion because of the economic downturn. DFW hasn’t been hit hard, so plenty of workers are still making that commute.
“It’s where the jobs are, you have to come here,” said Bennett.
The Texas Department of Transportation says the older bridges and road expansion projects contribute to the traffic, along with more folks moving to the area.
Without improvements already made, like HOV lanes and public transportation, the study estimates local drivers would lose another 16 million hours and $360 million dollars per year.
“It’s a mini New York. A headache, a migraine,” said Freeman.
Researchers believe reducing traffic in other ways like telecommuting or flexible work schedules can also help ease the congestion and headaches of the commute.
NBC 5's Ray Villeda and Ellen Goldberg contributed to this report.