On Air Now

Listen Now

Weather

cloudy-day
50°
Clear
H 67° L 45°
  • cloudy-day
    50°
    Current Conditions
    Clear. H 67° L 45°
  • clear-day
    67°
    Today
    Clear. H 67° L 45°
  • clear-day
    70°
    Tomorrow
    Mostly Clear. H 70° L 53°
Listen
Pause
Error

News on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

Listen
Pause
Error

Traffic on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

Listen
Pause
Error

Weather on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

News
Study: Atlanta traffic 7th worst in nation
Close

Study: Atlanta traffic 7th worst in nation

Study: Atlanta traffic 7th worst in nation
Photo Credit: Jason Getz, jgetz@ajc.com
110622 Atlanta; Traffic is jammed on southbound and northbound of I-75/85 just south of downtown Atlanta shown from the Pryor Street bridge after a storm blew through Wednesday afternoon in Atlanta, Ga., June 22, 2011. Jason Getz jgetz@ajc.com

Study: Atlanta traffic 7th worst in nation

Information from the AP was used in this report

At 5 p.m. on a Friday afternoon, few places feel worse than some interstates in Atlanta. Like maybe I-285 across the north side or the Downtown Connector.

But the good news is it could be worse.

Atlanta had the seventh worst commute in the nation in 2011, according to a new study by the Texas A&M Transportation Institute.

This latest data shows traffic congestion in metro Atlanta causes drivers to spend an extra 51 hours a year behind the wheel.

That ranking has stayed relatively steady since 2008. Before the bottom fell out of the economy, Atlanta ranked in the top five.  

The worst commute in the country? Washington. Commuters in the nation's capital needed almost three hours for a trip that should take 30 minutes without traffic, according to the report. That compares to the least congested city — Pensacola, Fla. — where commuters needed only nine extra minutes.

The other cities that have more traffic congestion than us are Los Angeles, San Francisco-Oakland, New York-Newark, Boston and Houston.

The study also found that each Atlantan burns $1,120 per year in traffic jams. That is also seventh worst in the country.

All drivers burn up 63 million gallons of gas a year.

The institute, part of Texas A&M University, uses 30 years of traffic data, and its annual reports are one of the key tools used by experts to solve traffic problems. Researchers study how commuters adapt their travel plans when they have urgent appointments in highly congested areas based on data gathered from state transportation agencies, private companies and academic entities that monitor traffic issues.

The study also found that DOT sensors and cameras improve traffic flow and Atlanta has what's known as reliable congestion, which means commuters are able to routinely plan their daily delays.

Overall, the nation's commuters are adapting to increasing traffic congestion by building delays into their schedules, but at a cost of $121 billion in wasted time and fuel, according to the annual study.

The report found that Americans wasted an average of $818 each sitting in traffic in 2011. That also meant more carbon dioxide entering the atmosphere.

On average, Americans allowed for an hour of driving time for a trip that would take 20 minutes without traffic. The total nationwide added up to 5.5 billion additional hours that Americans spent in their cars during 2011.

When all costs are totaled, the cost of traffic congestion to Americans was up $1 billion over 2010 for a total of $121 billion. For commercial truck drivers alone, wasted time and diesel fuel amounted to $27 billion.

New to the report this year is the amount of additional carbon dioxide that gets released into the atmosphere because of clogged roads. In 2011, that total was 56 billion pounds of additional carbon dioxide, or the equivalent of 380 pounds per commuter. Atlanta ranks 11th on this list.

The statistic "points to the importance of implementing transportation improvements to reduce congestion," researcher and co-author David Schrank said.

The study also determined that Americans burned 2.9 billion gallons of gasoline while sitting in congestion, a slight improvement over the peak in 2005 when commuters wasted 3.2 billion gallons.

Researchers said 2005 remains the worst year recording for traffic congestion, but warn that recent improvement may be directly related to the recession. As the economy picks up again, the study's authors warn, so might road congestion.

The institute notes that every community is unique and requires different, multi-faceted approaches to solving congestion.

Read More

News

  • A man is facing murder charges after authorities in England discovered dozens of bodies in a truck container in Essex, police said. >> Read more trending news  According to the BBC, the bodies of 39 people, including 38 adults and one teen, were discovered early Wednesday at an industrial park in Grays. Police arrested the truck's 25-year-old driver, a man from Northern Ireland whose name was not released, in connection with the deaths, the network reported. North Essex police Chief Superintendent Andrew Mariner called the incident 'tragic,' The Associated Press reported. “We are in the process of identifying the victims; however, I anticipate that this could be a lengthy process,' he said, according to the news service. Investigators said the truck, which came from Bulgaria, arrived in England on Saturday. Read more here or here. Please check back for updates to this developing story.
  • Registered sex offenders in Butts County, Georgia, are suing to stop the Sheriff’s Office from putting signs in their yards to discourage trick-or-treaters ahead of Halloween. >> Read more trending news  The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Macon, asks the court to order the agency to stop the practice, which began last year with deputies planting signs that read: “NO TRICK-OR-TREAT AT THIS ADDRESS!! A COMMUNITY SAFETY MESSAGE FROM BUTTS COUNTY SHERIFF GARY LONG.” Deputies put up some of the signs while others among the county’s 200 registered sex offenders were told to display one themselves or face unspecified trouble, according to the complaint. A hearing is set for Thursday at 9:30 a.m. for a judge to decide whether to bar the signs this year. Long intends to fight for the signs. The sheriff said his agency decided to put up the warnings last year because the “Halloween on the Square” event in Jackson had been canceled, causing more children than normal to go door to door for their candy. “Regardless of the Judge’s ruling this Thursday,” the sheriff wrote on Facebook, “I WILL do everything within the letter of the Law to protect the children of this Community.” The suit — filed by registered sex offenders Christopher Reed, Reginald Holden and Corey McClendon — said deputies had violated the law by trespassing to put up signs without permission. The plaintiff’s attorneys, Mark Yurachek and Mark Begnaud, argue that forcing the men to leave the signs up in their yards was tantamount to “compelling speech,” which runs afoul of the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment. The suit also seeks a trial and for a jury to award the plaintiffs compensation for the stress, fear and humiliation the signs caused last year.
  • With drive and charisma, he helped transform a game': That's the reasoning behind the U.S. Postal Service choosing golfer Arnold Palmer to honor with a new stamp. >> Read more trending news  According to agency officials, the stamp features an action photograph of Palmer at the 1964 U.S. Open at the Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Maryland.  According to the Golf Channel, Palmer won seven majors and had 62 PGA Tour wins. He was the first golfer to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom and 'was the most beloved golfer of all time.' The Palmer stamp is part of a new collection issued for 2020. The Postal Service said it celebrates people, events and cultural milestones unique to U.S. history each year with new stamps. The 2020 crop includes stamps featuring the Lunar New Year, a heart, journalist Gwen Ifill, wild orchids, the state of Maine, the Harlem Renaissance and more.
  • The daughter of gospel recording artist and songwriter Micah Stampley has died at age 15. >> Read more trending news  Mary Stampley died Tuesday after a seizure. No other information was available about her health history. The singer, who has been nominated for several Dove and Stellar Awards, lives in Fayetteville, Georgia. He and his wife, Heidi, own a cafe, Orleans Brews and Beignets. Stampley’s 2005 debut CD, “The Songbook of Micah,” debuted at No. 3 and included hits like “War Cry” and “Take My Life.” Arrangements are pending. 'Please keep their family in your prayers and respect their privacy as they deal with this traumatic event,' spokesman David Robinson said in a statement.
  • A woman is recounting a terrifying and vicious dog attack at a park in Pineville, North Carolina, Monday and when police tried to seize that dog, the owner took off, leading police on a slow-speed chase for miles.  >> Read more trending news  Abryana Heggins said she remembers all the thoughts that were rushing through her mind as a huge dog attacked her at a Pineville dog park.  'I just kept thinking 'What's happening? Why is this happening? How am I gonna get this dog off of me,'' Heggins said.  She said it all started when a very large dog owned by Terilyn Jackson started attacking a husky in the park.  'At first, he grabbed the husky by the back of its neck and then, grabbed its tail and started shaking its head aggressively,' Heggins said. 'The woman got a whistle and blowing at him.' She and her friend Jaylen rushed to get their dogs out of the park, but suddenly, she said she felt pressure on her arm.  'I just ended up being dragged across the ground by the dog, and he started shaking and locked onto my arm and there's people yelling, and she's yelling and Jaylen is trying to rip the dog off my arm,' Heggins said.  Her friend jumped on top of the dog and fought it until Pineville police arrived. Officers told Jackson they needed to take her dog into custody, but they said she took her dog and drove off.  Officers turned on their lights and sirens and followed her. They said she drove the speed limit the entire time, but refused to stop.  At one point, they said she tried to hit their patrol car. Six miles later, she arrived at an animal hospital on Archdale Drive in Charlotte.  Eventually, police arrested Jackson.  'I could have been an 8-year-old or a child and that would be worse than what I got or Jaylen,' Heggins said. Her friend Jaylen suffered several bites and broke a finger during all of this.  The dog is under what is called a 'rabies quarantine.' Animal control officials are monitoring it while police look into its background and decide if it should be put down. 
  • Pete Burdon received a call from his daughter about a post circulating on Facebook that was getting a lot of attention.  >> Read more trending news  Gunnery Sgt. John Guglielmino, a Marine Corps veteran from Clay County, Florida was sick in the hospital and his daughter’s final plea was to get as many visitors as she could to say goodbye to her dad.  “I contacted her right away and I said would this be a good time to go over there,” said Pete Burdon, a retired Navy civilian who spent 37 years working with the Navy. Burdon said he responded to the call because it felt like it was important to say goodbye to a fellow veteran, even if he didn’t know him personally. Last week he gave him a hat and a hero’s salute. “When I joked with him you can see that he tried to smile and then he tried to salute after he put that hat on, that was really a touching moment for me,” Burdon said.  His daughter Katherine Boccanelli told me her father served three tours in Vietnam. She said he suffered a stroke back in April and he was diagnosed with cancer from exposure to Agent Orange. She didn’t want him to feel alone with his last few days on earth so she put the post out on social media.  What she didn’t expect was to see the outpour from the community.  “For her it was a step she didn’t know was going to happen when she put it out there, about a 100 people showed up in that short time,” Burdon said.  Burdon says he said goodbye to Guglielmino in the hospital and he’ll be there tomorrow to say his final farewell at the funeral.  The funeral will be Wednesday at 11 a.m. at Crossroads to Victory Church in Raiford, Florida.  Guglielmino’s family says any veterans who visited who wanted to come out and pay their respects are welcome to attend. To contribute to the funeral services, click here.