Institute says Portland rush hours are 19th worst in nation
by: jeffrey basinger Traffic congestion in 2010 cost Portland commuters an extra 10 gallons of gas a year.

Portland may be the 29th largest city in the country by population, but the city's rush hours are the 19th worst in the nation, according to a new study released Tuesday.

Washington, D.C., Chicago and Los Angeles took the top three spots for traffic congestion. Seattle came in at No. 12 in the urban mobility study by the Texas Transportation Institute at Texas A and M University.

The study estimated that the cost of traffic congestion in U.S. cities and towns and found that the annual cost to Portland commuters was $744 in lost time and wasted fuel as a result of being stuck in traffic - close to the national average of $750.

Portland drivers spent an average of 37 total hours stuck in traffic in 2010, according to the report. That is down from a high of 42 wasted hours in 2005, and is probably due to the economic downturn, according to study co-author and research engineer Bill Eisele.

For those who recall when congestion in the Portland area was almost unheard of, the report offers confirmation. In 1982, Portland drivers on average lost 11 hours due to traffic congestion.

Traffic congestion in 2010 cost Portland commuters an extra 10 gallons of gas a year, according to the report.

The report also compares the cost of driving during peak rush hour vs. other times of the day and finds the difference between the two greater in Portland than in all but eight cities nationwide. It takes an average 25 percent longer to make a trip during peak rush hour in Portland than during other times of the day.

Eisele says that probably indicates that Portland commuters, compared to commuters in other cities, are making shorter but more frequent trips during rush hour.

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