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A Week Stuck in Traffic

Think of all you do in a week. Now imagine spending that week sitting in traffic.

Commuters in a third of the country's largest cities spend a workweek stuck in traffic jams each year, according to the Texas Transportation Institute at Texas A&M University. In the 50 urban areas studied, researchers put the cost of travel delay and excess fuel use at $51 billion.

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The West has it worst, with Los Angeles the nation's most gridlocked city for the eighth straight year. The Southwest, notably Corpus Christi, Texas, is least congested in the annual Roadway Congestion Index.

So what can cities like Los Angeles do? One option - the traditional favorite - is to spend ever more money on roadway expansion. And commuters? Many will continue to grumble while others are so used to slow commutes they don't give them a second thought. But if two weeks a year were lost sitting in traffic? Well, somebody might actually start thinking about other ways of getting around.

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