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L.A. Drivers Pay Nearly $3,000 A Year For Traffic, Crashes And Bad Roads, Says Report

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This is costing us a pretty penny. (Photo by Eric Demarcq via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr)
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We already know that traffic is awful here. And we know that many of our roads are in poor condition. Now, researchers are putting all those bad things into perspective (i.e. dollar amounts).

TRIP, which describes itself as a private nonprofit that studies "surface transportation issues," just released a report claiming that the average driver from the L.A., Long Beach, and Santa Ana areas pays $2,826 a year thanks to an "inadequate transportation system," reports KPCC.

The report elaborates by saying that bad roads (which are often riddled with potholes) raise vehicle operating costs. Researchers say that these conditions cause "accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear." In total, Southland drivers pay $892 a year to cover these extra operating costs.

The report goes on to say that we pay another $223 annually to cover collisions, and that traffic congestion (which lowers "household and workplace productivity") costs us another $1,711 per year. Researchers say that Angelenos lose 80 hours a year in traffic.

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Taken altogether (vehicle operating costs, collisions, and traffic) L.A. drivers have to pay nearly $3,000 a year. Apparently, drivers in the Bay Area know our anguish; the report says they pay $2,824 a year (two dollars less than we do!). By contrast, drivers in San Diego lose $1,858 annually.

All these numbers are based off data culled from surveys done in 2014.

The report drives home a point that is becoming more and more evident in L.A.: a lot of our roads are bad. TRIP researchers say that 60% of our streets are in poor condition. By comparison, 50% of the state's roads are regarded as poor. On Sunday, the L.A. Times released a map showing the conditions of L.A.'s streets. The map seems to corroborate what TRIP is reporting, as a good deal of the streets are colored in magenta, which signifies a F-rating. These streets feature "major or unsafe cracking" and "36% to more than 50% of structural failure."

There is some reason for optimism, however. According to TRIP, 65% of our streets were labeled as poor in 2012. So the figure for 2014 (60%) is a sign of improvement. But, as noted by the Times, these improvements may be slow in coming because the city pays greater attention to streets in fair condition, and less to streets in poor condition.