Study: Los Angeles is world’s most traffic-clogged city

iStock/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) -- Low fuel prices and economic stability are straining the country's roadways, leading to congestion that cost U.S. drivers nearly $300 billion in wasted gas and time last year, according to a new report released Monday.

Los Angeles had the worst traffic in the world among 1,064 cities studied by traffic analytics firm INRIX. L.A. also topped the Kirkland, Washington, firm’s list the year before.

On average, Los Angeles motorists spent about 104 hours stuck in traffic during the peak commuting hours of 2016, contributing to a loss of $2,408 per driver, or about $9.7 billion collectively, in wasted fuel and productivity, according to the firm’s Global Traffic Scorecard report.

That topped Moscow and New York, where drivers spent an average of 91 hours and 89 hours, respectively, sitting in gridlocked traffic.

Overall, U.S. cities accounted for half of the firm’s list of the top 10 most-congested areas worldwide, helped by cheaper U.S. gas prices and a buoyant economy, the report said.

"A stable U.S. economy, continued urbanization of major cities, and factors such as employment growth and low gas prices have all contributed to increased traffic in 2016," INRIX senior economist Bob Pishue said in a statement.

U.S. drivers spent an average of 42 hours a year in traffic during the busiest commuting hours of the year, costing them about $300 billion collectively, or about $1,400 per driver, in squandered gas and time last year, according to the report.

"Traffic truly is a double-edged sword," Pishue said, adding that he doesn't expect the global traffic situation to improve soon any time soon.

"The demand for driving is expected to continue to rise, while the supply of roadway will remain flat," Pishue said.

He recommends that governments use traffic data and technology to improve traffic flow as they explore new road projects and investments.

Separately, in a blog post Friday, INRIX Chief Economist Graham Cookson noted that the causes of congestion are specific to the city and road structures, but he also laid out a few ways that cities could address the problem.

"Congestion is bad for our wallets and our health, but in one sense it is a good problem to have,” Cookson said. “Roads are the arteries of the economy pumping people and goods around the country. Congestion is the symptom of a rich and prosperous economy."

Avoiding peak hour trips through remote working and encouraging the efficient use of our roads through wider adoption of road user pricing could help cities to better manage road demand, Cookson said.

He pointed to places like London as an example of a city that is using technology to improve traffic flow.

London invested nearly $4.3 billion to improve the roads there, according to the city's website.

As part of that initiative, the city placed sensors in 80 percent of the city's roads to detect real-time traffic conditions at junctions and optimize traffic light timings to reduce delays, Cookson noted in his blog post.

INRIX said it used anonymous and real-time GPS data to track traffic flows across 38 countries. It also utilized “market-specific criteria that affect traffic,” including construction and road closures, real-time incidents, sporting and entertainment events, weather forecasts and school schedules.

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Passenger who forced Honolulu emergency landing tells FBI ‘we all have’ terroristic thoughts

Passenger who forced Honolulu emergency landing tells FBI 'we all have' terroristic thoughtsiStock/Thinkstock(HONOLULU) -- The Turkish national who forced the emergency landing of American Airlines flight 31 in Honolulu on Friday allegedly told FBI agents "we all have" terroristic ideas, and pantomimed shooting an agent during his interview, according to a criminal complaint filed in Hawaii on Monday.

En route from Los Angeles to Honolulu, 25-year-old Anil Uskanli alarmed passengers and crewmembers while acting "strange," forcing the pilot lock down the flight deck and prompting the U.S. Pacific Command to send two F-22 fighter jets to escort the aircraft into Hawaii.

F22's taking off from Honolulu to escort American Airlines flight 31 #Hawaii pic.twitter.com/8cauepQ7Yt

— Anthony Quintano 🌴 (@AnthonyQuintano) May 19, 2017

"We all have those ideas," he said when asked if he ever had terroristic thoughts.

According to the complaint, Uskanli boarded the plane without any luggage, carrying only a phone, laptop, charger, and miscellaneous items in his pockets.

Not long after he was arrested for misdemeanor trespassing at LAX after breaching a security door while under the influence, crew escorted him down the jet bridge in a wheelchair.

Once aboard the Airbus 321, he plopped into a seat in first class. At a flight attendant's repeated urging, Uskanli eventually moved to 35B, his assigned seat.

After the flight took off, Uskanli began repeatedly moving his laptop from the seatback pocket to the space under the seat, "uttering things and talking to himself," one passenger told FBI agents.

He then got up to use the lavatory, but failed to lock the door, the complaint adds. When another passenger attempted to enter the lavatory, Uskanli allegedly began "yelling and pounding on the walls."

After flight attendants escorted him back to his seat, they found what appeared to be cigarette pieces around the toilet.

A short time later, Uskanli "wrapped a blanket around his head, picked up his laptop," and shuffled towards the front of the aircraft.

A flight attendant used a beverage cart to block the aisle, but Uskanli shoved back, then set his laptop on the cart, triggering immediate alarm among the crew. The flight attendant was concerned following reports that terrorists are attempting to target aircraft with explosives concealed inside electronics, the complaint explains.

While an off-duty law enforcement officer steered Uskanli back to his seat, a flight attendant barricaded the laptop in the rear of the aircraft -- standard procedure for handling a possible explosive device. To further mitigate the impact of a potential in-flight bomb, the pilot descended to 5,000 feet, according to the complaint.

Uskanli was restrained with duct tape, witnesses say.

Upon landing, Uskanli was escorted off the flight by law enforcement, and bomb technicians and canine units seized the laptop and secured the plane. No explosives were found inside the laptop, authorities say.

Uskanli's urinalysis came back positive for benzodiazepine. Other field sobriety tests indicated he may have been high on stimulants or cannabis, according to the complaint.

During a post-incident interview with FBI agents, Uskanli "made a gun shape with his fingers and pretended to shoot,"simulated a ‘chopping motion’" at an agent's neck, and threatened to kill a female agent, according to the complaint.

Asked if he planned to hurt anyone, he told agents, "it depends on the day."

He was charged with interfering with a flight crew, and was scheduled to appear in court Monday.

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