North Texas has the fifth worst traffic congestion in the United States, in terms of fuel wasted and time lost by commuters. That ranking is unchanged from last year, according to the 2011 Urban Mobility Report that is scheduled to be released Tuesday by the Texas Transportation Institute.
The institute at Texas A&M University periodically ranks congestion in 439 U.S. urban areas. The nation's worsening traffic problems have been offset somewhat by the poor economy. But not enough is being done to upgrade roads and bridges, to properly handle traffic when the economy improves, researchers at the institute concluded.
"If you invest in roads and transit, you get better service and access to more jobs," said Tim Lomax, one of the study authors.
Also, gridlock is no longer a problem reserved for the typical "rush hour" periods -- which is a misnomer anyway in Dallas-Fort Worth, where peak congestion now lasts five hours a day. But today, a full 40 percent of traffic congestion now occurs outside the traditional rush hour times, during the midday and nighttime hours.
Metro areas that wasted the most fuel in traffic, 2010:
City, million gallons
1. Los Angeles, 278
2. New York, 190
3. Chicago, 184
4. Washington, 95
5. Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, 81