UN study: Trinidad and Tobago commuters spend 33 days a year in traffic

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Backed-up traffic on the Churchill Roosevelt Highway, St Augustine. – Photo by Ayanna Kinsale

THE average person in Trinidad and Tobago spends almost two hours in traffic daily, for a total of 33 days a year.

This statistic comes from a report released by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) on January 7.

The study gave figures of 110 minutes a day, 16 hours a week, 64 hours or two days and 16 hours per month and 793 hours or 33 days a year.

The study said TT had had more than a million registered vehicles on the road and an increase of more than 25,000 new cars in 2019, the Oxford Business Group said in 2021. It said this amounts to a vehicle-to-population ratio of roughly 0.76.

“This challenge has been growing over the past three decades, driven by increasing urbanisation and personal vehicle ownership, alongside lagging development of public transportation infrastructure. In this context, traffic congestion is seen to also cause higher levels of stress, fatigue and depression among commuters, and is possibly linked to increased anti-social behaviour and diminished road safety.”

The ECLAC study, titled Assessment of the Economic Costs of VehicleTraffic Congestion in the Caribbean: A Case Study of Trinidad and Tobago, said this also has a direct effect on the country’s GDP.

“Vehicle traffic congestion imposes a direct economic burden of roughly 1.37 per cent of annual GDP on TT. This measure represents a lower bound estimate of economic costs, given that it does not include other social and environmental costs typically associated with the phenomenon.”