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Driving to work gets longer and costlier

An annual study of 75 urban areas found that rush hours last longer, are more widespread, and cost the US $68 billion a year in gas and time. According to the Texas Transportation Institute, the average urban motorist in 2000 spent 62 hours sitting in traffic, compared with 16 hours in 1982. And more than half the major roads in those 75 areas are crowded during rush hours, compared with just a third in 1982.

Just to keep 2000's gridlock at 1999 levels would have required the 75 urban areas to build 297 miles of new six-lane freeways, and 432 miles of six-lane streets, the study said. Alternatively, 6.2 million extra trips per day via carpools or mass transit could have maintained 1999 levels. Below: Urban areas with the longest annual delays and cost per rush-hour driver.

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1. Los Angeles 136 hours $2,510

2. San Francisco-Oakland 92 hours $1,770

3. Washington 84 hours $1,595

4. Seattle 82 hours $1,605

5. Houston 75 hours $1,410

6. Dallas-Fort Worth 74 hours $1,390

7. San Jose, Calif. 74 hours $1,415

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8. New York 73 hours $1,400

9. Atlanta 70 hours $1,350

10. Miami 69 hours $1,255

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