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How Much Does Sprawl Cost American Commuters?

More than $107 billion annually, or about $1,400 per commuter, a new analysis finds. 
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Flickr/Daniel Lobo

How do you quantify the cost of sprawl? There are so many, after all. For local governments, the cost of single-family homes and shopping malls tend to outweigh the tax benefits. Sprawl drives up fuel and energy consumption, commute times, and per capita land use, and drives down individual health, physical activity, and even psychological well-being. A 2015 report by LSE Cities and the Victoria Transport Policy Institute bundled together a number of those outcomes, and estimated in very broad strokes that sprawl costs the U.S. close to $1 trillion every year. 

Now, Daniel Hertz of City Observatory has come up with a more targeted approach to index the price of spread-out development, in time and money, for American workers.