Seattle Businesses Lose $49.8M Annually to Traffic

SEATTLE, WA–(Marketwired – December 13, 2017) – Seattle’s traffic congestion costs businesses in the city an estimated $49.8M in productivity(1), this according to research conducted by TomTom.

The TomTom Traffic Index Report has found traffic in Seattle is increasing overall travel times by 34 percent, with congestion extending the average drivers’ time spent on the road by 40 minutes. The financial impact to Seattle businesses is heavy, with congested roads costing each of the 45,231 commercial light vehicle drivers in the city approximately $4.95 per day. In total, this adds up to nearly $50M in additional costs for Seattle’s business economy.

Torsten Grunzig, Director of Sales for TomTom Telematics North America, says, “Traffic congestion is a fact of life for every driver, in every city.”

“The problem only grows worse each year,” says Grunzig. “Traffic congestion in Seattle has increased by 10 percent over the last eight years. Seattle businesses are losing 30,154 hours a day in productivity directly tied to traffic congestion. Overcoming the congestion challenge and recapturing these lost hours is a major challenge.”

The report has also found that Tuesday and Wednesday mornings (8am-9am) and Wednesday evening (5pm – 6pm) represent traffic peak hours.

“It’s all about billable hours for businesses operating a mobile workforce. Traffic congestion increases the probability of a driver becoming stuck on the road, wasting billable time, burning fuel, increasing emissions and potentially disappointing customers,” says Grunzig.

“Fleet management solutions can help businesses to overcome these issues, as they help drivers navigate around traffic jams. Not only can a fleet tracking solution help to ensure drivers receive the better available route, based on anticipated congestion spots and collected data from other devices, they can also enable the back office to better plan around congestion, and keep customers alerted as to a drivers’ ETA. By providing a platform that monitors potential traffic problems, drivers’ proximity to jobs, who’s being re-routed around congestion and realistic ETAs, fleet managers and planners can operate a smart scheduling and dispatch service, using the best placed driver for each job.”

Seattle is one of the top five US cities for congestion, being in fourth place after LA, San Francisco and New York.

The United States Top 5 Most Congested Cities in 2016 According to TomTom Traffic Index

City Congestion Level Extra Travel Per Year (Hours) No. of Commercial Vehicles Cost to Business
Los Angeles 45% 170 1,103,918 $1.36 B
San Francisco 39% 150 56,654 $61.6M
New York 35% 129 74,389 $69.6M
Seattle 34% 152 45,321 $49.8M
San Jose 32% 144 197,675 $206.4M

Notes to editors

1Washington State 2016 DMV data

2This number was determined using the following calculation:
40 minutes lost sitting in traffic ÷ 60 minutes = 0.66 hours x $7.50 (average US minimum wage) = $4.95 the cost of sitting in traffic

3This number was determined using the following workings:
45,231 x 152 (Total extra travel in Seattle per year in hours according to TomTom Traffic Index) = 6,875,112 total hours lost by all light commercial vehicles in Seattle
$7.50 (US average minimum wage) x 6,875,112 = $49,844,562 ($49.8M) the cost of all hours lost by drivers.

The same method was used to determine the monetary value of traffic for the other cities in the report.

About the TomTom Traffic Index
The TomTom Traffic Index measures congestion on the road networks of 295 cities around the world.

The TomTom Traffic Index gives drivers detailed information on the impact congestion has on their city’s travel times.

Road authorities can use the TomTom Traffic Index to measure the performance of their network and pinpoint areas where traffic flow can be improved.

Over the years TomTom has built up a database with 14 trillion historical travel time measurements and we provide detailed and accurate traffic updates for drivers in 50 countries.

About TomTom Telematics

TomTom Telematics is a Business Unit of TomTom dedicated to fleet management, vehicle telematics and connected car services. WEBFLEET is a Software-as-a-Service solution, used by small to large businesses to improve vehicle performance, save fuel, support drivers and increase overall fleet efficiency. In addition, TomTom Telematics provides services for the insurance, rental and leasing industries, car importers and companies that address businesses as well as consumers.

TomTom Telematics is one of the world’s leading telematics solution providers with more than 785,000 subscriptions worldwide. The company services drivers in more than 60 countries, giving them the industry’s strongest local support network and widest range of sector-specific third-party applications and integrations. More than 48,000 customers benefit every day from the high standards of confidentiality, integrity and availability of our ISO/IEC 27001:2013 certified service, re-audited in November 2016.

For further information, please visit

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(1) Calculation performed by TomTom Telematics

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PR Contacts:
Ellyn Winters-Robinson
Ignition Communications (PR for TomTom Telematics NA)