How much does sitting in traffic every day cost you?

Smart Money: The graphs that show how traffic congestion on the M50 and elsewhere eats into your finances, and your time

Traffic congestion applies costs to the economy, and to our lives.  Photograph: Dave Meehan

Traffic congestion applies costs to the economy, and to our lives. Photograph: Dave Meehan

Traffic congestion is costing us. Ibec warned about its impact on businesses this week – and anybody who lives in an Irish city knows all about it. The evidence suggests not only that the cost is growing, but also that it is changing the way many of us organise our day. Add sustainability and the drive to cut the number commuting by car to the mix and you get a huge policy challenge. What can economics tells us about the costs? And what can the data tell us about how congestion patterns in Ireland are changing the way we live? There are a number of key policy challenges.

1. Congestion – the theory

Traffic congestion imposes costs on the economy – and on our lives. Measuring this is not straightforward and putting a cost on it is even more complicated. But the cost in Ireland now – notably in Dublin but also the other major cities – is certainly significant and rising.

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