Traffic Sucks, But Commuter Congestion Probably Doesn’t Affect The Economy

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Photo: Denver I-70 Morning Traffic
Traffic backs up on westbound Interstate 70 during the morning rush hour in Denver, Jan. 9, 2017.

Nobody has fun sitting in traffic. But claims that congested highways cost drivers and businesses billions of dollars, resulting in a negative effect on a region's economy, may be overstated. CU Denver civil engineering associate professor Wes Marshall recently co-authored a study that investigated what connection, if any, traffic and economic growth have.

Marshall talked to Colorado Matters about his research, which compared historic traffic data against a region's GDP and job growth. The study found that congestion and economic markers both continued to grow with no effect on the other.