Traffic a billion-dollar nightmare for employers

by HCA29 Jun 2016
You’re not imagining it: traffic is getting worse in our biggest cities and it could be costing your company dearly, with employees unproductively stuck in traffic, delayed in starting work and late to assigned jobs and meetings.

In Sydney, time spent sitting in traffic now equates to 6 per cent lost earnings or three weeks salary each year, placing it 17th-worst in the world, between Johannesburg and London.

Sydney was the only Australian city to make the top 20 of the Global Positioning Specialists Survey of 2015 GPS data, but Melbourne’s congestion means drivers in that city lose two weeks a year and Adelaide 1.3 weeks. Melbourne’s commuters take 18.7 minutes out of their day because of the traffic, and in Brisbane it’s 18.3 minutes (Perth 17.1 mins, Adelaide 12.6 mins).

Global Positioning Specialists (GPS) use data from Numbeo and the TomTom Travel Index to calculate which city has the most unproductive commuters.

Top of the list is Mexico City where commuters lose 4.9 weeks a year or 9.7 per cent lost earnings. However, because Sydney has a such a high standard of living, high salaries and poor infrastructure, it has the highest net-loss of any city in the GPS 50, at more than $3,300 per worker, per year, compared with Mexico City’s $1,044, London’s $2,864 or Los Angeles’ $2,886.
Sydney has the highest net-loss of any city in the GPS 50, at more than $3,300 per worker, per year
The traffic burden is unproductive and possibly has a psychological impact, says GPS head Lucile Michaut. “People need to earn a living and I am sure this means many workers are getting up several hours early and getting home late to compensate for the hours lost behind the wheel.

“Not only does congestion eat into people’s salaries and spare time, there must be very few more boring ways to spend the beginning and end of your day.”

Boring could be the least of it: the extra 28.4 minutes that Sydney commuters spend in traffic every morning costs them 5.9 per cent of their earnings, but the GPS survey doesn’t say how much of that amount is carried by the employer because of lateness, missed meetings and lack of focus because of stressful traffic conditions.
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