Report: Israel Loses NIS 35B a Year to Traffic

A typical scene on the Ayalon Highway in Tel Aviv, where a $2 billion development project is in the works. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)

A Knesset study has determined that the Israeli economy loses some NIS 35 billion a year due to traffic jams. The report was prepared for a Knesset discussion on what MK Ram Shefa (Blue and White) termed the “traffic emergency” in Israel.

The losses are due to productivity losses, extra gas and fuel that are used because of excessive traffic, and mental health issues that impact individuals because of the the large amounts of time they spend in traffic. “The transportation reality that Israel faces in 2019 is difficult,” the report says. “There are many traffic jams, and many people spend too much time commuting to and from work or social engagements, with much damage to work productivity, and the air and noise pollution that results from excessive traffic.”

The government invests some NIS 15 billion a year on public transportation. With that, the majority of Israelis prefer to drive themselves. Less than 20% of all trips are conducted via public transportation. To improve that situation, Transportation Minister Betzalel Smotrich said that “in the near future we will be reforming transportation prices. Instead of 100 difference price levels for bus and train rides, we will reduce that to four levels of fares, based on distance traveled.”

In addition, plans are being made for businesses to call on employees to leave their cars at home for at least one day a week, he added.