Although partially repaired, the Drive will have one of the three northbound lanes closed indefinitely until the structure is repaired. This disruption slows traffic significantly for a portion of the way. From my recent taxi-travels, I've realized that this change adds about 5 to 10 minutes to my normally 15-minute journey.
Even though this might be short amount of time, it does keep me from working for 5 to 10 minutes. If taken in aggregate, this one-lane closure affects quite a few people in New York. How does this translate into an actual monetary estimate?
- The Drive carries around 300,000 vehicles per day
- Since about a third of the drive is affected by the traffic, only 100,000 of those vehicles are slowed by 5 to 10 minutes
- This must be halved once again since it's only northbound traffic that is slowed - giving us 50,000 vehicles
- It's hard to to estimate how many passengers per car there are - but it's probably safe to say there are between 1 and 2 passengers on average - so we'll say 1.5
- This gives us a total of 75,000 people affected by the delay daily
- Let's say that half of these people are going to work and thus would be working if they weren't stuck in traffic - thus 37,500 are losing productive time in traffic
- The average hourly wage for New York City is around $25 - so that 10 minutes would equate to approximately $4 per person for lost time
- If we multiply 37,500 by $4 we get a productivity cost of $150,000 per day
- This means that the one closed lane would cost New York City $54,750,000 in lost productivity per year.
It seems that the indirect cost of keeping one lane closed may hurt the NYC economy by $55 Million per year.