CLOSE
iStock
iStock

Here's How Much Traffic Congestion Costs the World's Biggest Cities

iStock
iStock

Traffic congestion isn't just a nuisance for the people who get trapped in gridlock on their way to work, it’s also a problem for a city's economy, City Lab reports. According to a study from the transportation consulting firm INRIX, all that time stuck in traffic can cost the world’s major cities tens of billions of dollars each year.

The study, the largest to examine vehicle traffic on a global scale, measured congestion in 1360 cities across 38 countries. Los Angeles ranked number one internationally with drivers spending an average of 102 hours in traffic jams during peak times in a year. Moscow and New York City were close behind, both with 91 lost hours, followed by Sao Paulo in Brazil with 86 and San Francisco with 79.

INRIX also calculated the total cost to the cities based on their congestion numbers. While Los Angeles loses a whopping $19.2 billion a year to time wasted on the road, New York City takes the biggest hit. Traffic accounts for $33.7 billion lost by the city annually, or an average of $2982 per driver. The cost is $10.6 billion a year for San Francisco and $7.1 billion for Atlanta. Those figures are based on factors like the loss of productivity from workers stuck in their cars, higher road transportation costs, and the fuel burned by vehicles going nowhere.

Congestion on the highway can be caused by something as dramatic as a car crash or as minor as a nervous driver tapping their brakes too often. Driverless cars could eventually fix this problem, but until then, the fastest solution may be to discourage people from getting behind the wheel in the first place.

[h/t City Lab]

arrow
travel
This Hidden Button Gives You More Room in a Plane's Aisle Seat

If you prefer the window seat on planes, you undoubtedly have your reasons—the view, using the wall as a head rest, not having people climb over you to get to the bathroom. But an obscure button on the aisle seat armrest could make you rethink your seat selection.

Even frequent flyers may be surprised to learn that unlike the armrest closest to the window, the armrest next to the aisle isn’t actually fixed in place, even though it seems to be at first tug. As Time points out, there’s a button hidden underneath the armrest, near the hinge, that lets you lift it up. This will give you a little extra elbow room (but watch out for beverage carts).

While this tip should come in handy on long flights and when you get up to retrieve your bag from the overhead bin, the primary function of this feature is safety. It allows for "a quick and easy escape should you need to make an emergency exit from the plane," Time reports. Although, if few people know the button is there, its usefulness is rather dubious.

“I’ve been traveling pretty consistently for eight years, and not once on any plane has anybody actually said that you can use this to slide in and out much more comfortably if you’re on the aisle,” says vlogger Mike Corey. Watch Corey demonstrate how to operate the button in the video below.

[h/t Time Magazine]

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
arrow
travel
LaGuardia Airport Is Serving Up Personalized Short Stories to Passengers
iStock
iStock

In between purchasing a neck pillow and a bag full of snacks, guests flying out of the Marine Air Terminal at New York City's LaGuardia Airport can now order up an impromptu short story. As Hyperallergic reports, Landing Pages is an art project that connects writers to travelers looking for short fiction written in the time it takes to reach their destination.

The kiosk was set up as part of the ArtPort Residency, a new collaboration between the Queens Council on the Arts and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which sponsors different art projects at the Marine Air Terminal for a few months at a time.

Artists Lexie Smith and Gideon Jacobs set up the inaugural project at the terminal earlier this month. To request a story from Landing Pages, travelers can visit the kiosk and leave their flight number and contact information. While the passenger is in the air, Smith and Jacobs churn out a custom story, in the form of poetry, illustration, or prose, from their airport terminal workspace and send it out in time for it to reach the reader's phone before he or she lands.

The word count depends on the duration of the flight, and the subject matter often touches upon themes of travel and adventure. As Smith and Jacobs continue their residency through June 30, the pieces they complete will be made available at Landingpages.nyc and in hard copy form at the airport kiosk.

Landing Pages isn't the first airport service to offer à la carte short stories. In 2011, a French startup debuted its short story-dispensing vending machine at Paris's Charles de Gaulle Airport. Those stories come in three categories—one-minute, three-minute, and five-minute reads—and are printed out immediately so travelers can read them during their flight.

[h/t Hyperallergic]

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios