Calculating what the I-480 debacle this morning cost Clevelanders

Thousands were lost in gas and productivity

Calculating what the I-480 debacle this morning cost Clevelanders

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) -For the third time in the past year, a construction company is to blame for not clearing a project in time for the morning commute and it cost Clevelanders thousands.

An overnight resurfacing project on Interstate 480 eastbound, in the area of Warrensville Heights, was contracted to be off the road at 5 a.m. but on Tuesday didn’t clear until 7:30.

With only one lane open as the commute started, traffic clogged up, which created a backup that stretched for five miles back to the Valley View Bridge.

To come up with an estimate, and this is a rough estimate, Associate Professor of Economics, Dr. Lewis Sage with Baldwin Wallace University looked at two factors; gas wasted and productivity lost.

“As a one time event it’s annoying,” Sage said of sitting in standstill traffic. “As a reoccurring event it not only reduces productivity, it also reduces quality of life in a region.”

Burning up dollars

The first calculation is gas burned while idling in traffic.

Sage said if the average car burned a half gallon of gas in 60 minutes of traffic, with an estimated 5,000 people stuck, at $2.50 gallon, today’s traffic jam wasted $6,250 in gas.

Productivity wasted

The process of estimating how much productivity was lost as a result of the traffic jam uses another set of estimated factors.

“This is a challenge because what price do we put on an hour of time, varies based on salaries and what people do,” Sage said.

For this calculation Sage used the average salary for a person in Cleveland which is $52,000 a year, which breaks down to $25 an hour.

Based on those numbers, 5,000 people showing up an hour late to work comes to $125,00 worth of what Sage called “people time.”

Copyright 2019 WOIO. All rights reserved.