How Many Hours Do Americans Lose to Traffic Congestion?
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How Many Hours Do Americans Lose to Traffic Congestion?

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US traffic

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The Briefing

  • America’s major cities are some of the most congested in the world
  • In 2020, the average driver in New York City lost 100 hours due to traffic

How Many Hours Do Americans Lose to Traffic Congestion?

No one likes being stuck in traffic. But have you ever wondered how many hours it’s actually taking away from you?

In some of the biggest U.S. cities, the answer could be over 100 hours in a single year.

2020 was very unique, however, and traffic was less severe due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, the average American driver lost 99 hours in 2019, compared to just 26 hours in 2020.

Nevertheless, drivers in America still lost a sizeable chunk of time throughout the year. To see exactly how much, we compiled data from INRIX to pinpoint the 10 most congested cities in America.

CityHours Lost in Congestion (2020)
New York City, NY100
Philadelphia, PA94
Chicago, IL86
Boston, MA48
Los Angeles, CA45
San Francisco, CA47
New Orleans, LA42
Houston, TX35
Miami, FL35
Dallas, TX34

Unsurprisingly, America’s most populous city was also its most congested. As of 2020, New York City had a population of nearly 9 million people.

Going to a more granular level helps us identify New York City’s worst corridor: the Brooklyn Queens Expressway. Daily traffic on the segment between I-495 and Tillary Street is estimated to have cost drivers approximately 30 hours in 2020.

What Could You Have Done Instead?

Here’s a list of things that the average New Yorker could have done with the 100 hours they lost to traffic.

ActivityNumber of Hours Required
Take 2.5 weeks off work100
Walk through Central Park 100 times100
Read Leo Tolstoy’s most famous novels, War and Peace (1869) and Anna Karenina (1878) 98
Drive to Los Angeles and back
(theoretical time which assumes no breaks are taken)
84
Watch the entire Game of Thrones TV series from beginning to end70
Earn your private pilot license
(actual flight training time)
40

Source: Audible, FAA, Google Maps, Statista

Traffic is going to get worse as more people move to urban areas, but this doesn’t mean that all hope is lost.

The majority of traffic problems are caused by human behavior, meaning autonomous vehicles could reduce many of the inefficiencies that cause congestion. Unfortunately, Level 5 self-driving cars are still a ways off, despite the claims of Tesla CEO Elon Musk.

Where does this data come from?

Source: INRIX
Notes: “Hours lost” refers to the number of hours lost in congestion during peak commute periods compared to free flow conditions.

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Super-Sized Bets for Football’s Big Game (2013-2022)

Expanding legalization has driven an increase in bets on football’s big game, with wagers more than doubling from 2021 to 2022. (Sponsored Content)

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Dollar value of bets for football's big game shown over the last ten years using footballs. The football is much bigger in 2022 to indicate that bets doubled from 2021 to 2022.

The Briefing

  • Sports betting became legal outside Nevada when the federal ban was lifted in 2018.
  • Legalization contributed to betting growth, with wagers on football’s big game increasing ten-fold over the last decade.

Super-Sized Bets for Football’s Big Game

With 99 million viewers in 2022, “more Americans tune in to the Super Bowl than any other television broadcast.” Its large viewership, combined with expanding legislation, has led to ballooning wagers.

In this graphic sponsored by Roundhill Investments, we show how these bets have grown over the last 10 years.

Annual Legal Bets on the Big Game

From 2013 through 2018, sports betting was only legal in Nevada and year-over-year growth was low. However, when the federal sports betting ban was lifted in May 2018, more states started allowing bets.

By 2022, 33 states plus Washington, DC were legally able to bet on the game. Wagers climbed quickly as a result.

YearTotal BetsAnnual Growth
2013$99M5%
2014$119M21%
2015$116M-3%
2016$133M14%
2017$138M4%
2018$159M15%
2019$191M20%
2020$280M47%
2021$486M73%
2022$1.1B119%

Data only for states that report bets on football’s big game, see graphic for full list of states included in 2022.

Impressively, legal bets surpassed the $1 billion mark in 2022. Growth was primarily driven by New York State legalizing online sports betting, with the state contributing nearly $500 million to the total.

Since the New York State Gaming Commission does not report event-specific totals, we have estimated this amount based on sports bets made the week leading up to and including the date of the big game.

Investment Exposure to an Emerging Industry

Due to legalization, bets on football’s big game have grown 10 times larger over the last decade. A further shift away from bookies and toward legal operators appears to be likely. In September 2022, 89% of Americans said it was important to bet with a legal operator this NFL season, up from 76% in February 2022.

For legal operators, this could translate into revenue opportunities. Companies that take legal bets reported more than $62 million in revenue from the big game alone in 2022, a 37% jump from the prior year.

Looking for exposure to the growing sports betting industry? Explore Roundhill’s sports betting ETF, $BETZ.

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