From: Reuters
Published May 30, 2008 12:27 AM

Gridlock led 27 pct of drivers to abandon trips

By Joan Gralla

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Traffic was so bad in 10 major U.S. cities that 27 percent of the drivers surveyed gave up and went home in the past three years, a study said on Friday.

Some 66 percent of the motorists said they would change how they commute if gasoline prices rise to $5 a gallon.

The two most popular gridlock-busters were working from home, an option selected by 30 percent of the drivers, and improved public transportation, also favored by 30 percent of driver, according to IBM, which said it polled 4,091 drivers in its May survey.

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Some 91 percent said driving was their main form of transportation for trips other than work or school. In addition, 68 percent get to work or school by car.

More than 75 percent of the motorists said every wasted 15 minutes behind the wheel cost them $10 to $20, for an average of $73.22 an hour, according to the survey.

"Driving is unpleasant, if not downright dangerous, on roads choked with cars driven by frustrated, tired, and angry commuters," IBM said, saying problems ranged from poorer work performance to less family time.

IBM, a technology services company, said it conducted the study to help it devise ways to cut gridlock, including automated tolling, real-time traffic prediction, congestion pricing and route planning.

Los Angeles drivers were the angriest, at 36 percent, and also had the highest score of 9.6 on a pain index based on factors such as commuting time.

Atlanta ranked second on the pain index, followed by Miami, Dallas-Fort Worth, Chicago, San Francisco, New York, Washington, D.C., Boston and Minneapolis-Saint Paul.

Atlanta had the longest commutes, at 19 miles and taking 35 minutes. That was 3 minutes longer than it took to drive the average 16.7 mile commute. Minneapolis had the shortest commute at 28 minutes for 15.2 miles.

The most common frustrations were start-and-stop traffic, at 37 percent, followed by aggressive/rude drivers, at 24 percent. Aggressive drivers annoyed 35 percent of the Miami drivers but only 18 percent of the New Yorkers.

(Editing by Leslie Adler)

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