Texas Transportation Institute Report, Congestion Worsening

Posted in Around The Nation, Around The State, Road Issues at 4:16 pm by wcnews

The TTI’s report (links here) appears to be a sober analysis of what most drivers already know, congestion is getting worse. There are a couple of good things just from the press release though.

“There is no ‘magic’ technology or solution on the horizon because there is no single cause of congestion,” noted study co-author Tim Lomax, a research engineer at TTI. “The good news is that there are multiple strategies involving traffic operations and public transit available right now that if applied together, can lessen this problem.”

The 2007 mobility report notes that congestion causes the average peak period traveler to spend an extra 38 hours of travel time and consume an additional 26 gallons of fuel, amounting to a cost of $710 per traveler. Along with expanding the estimates of the effect of congestion to all 437 U.S. urban areas, the study provides detailed information for 85 specific urban areas. The report also focuses on the problems presented by “irregular events”—crashes, stalled vehicles, work zones, weather problems and special events—that cause unreliable travel times and contribute significantly to the overall congestion problem. Worsening congestion, the study notes, is reflected in several ways:

  • Trips take longer
  • Congestion affects more of the day
  • Congestion affects weekend travel and rural areas
  • Congestion affects more personal trips and freight shipments
  • Trip travel times increasingly are unreliable


The report identifies multiple solutions to the congestion problem that, researchers say, must be used together to be effective. These include:

  • Get as much service as possible from existing infrastructure
  • Add road and transit system capacity in critical corridors
  • Relieve chokepoints
  • Change usage patterns
  • Provide choices
  • Diversify the development patterns
  • Keep expectations realistic

“Congestion is a far more complex problem than is apparent at first glance,” Lomax said. “The better the data we use to define the problem, the more successful we will be in addressing its root causes.”

There’s no mention of how to finance - toll roads or the gas tax - but from the press release they seem to be attempting to nudge us away from roads as the only option to fix our congestion problems. That’s one change we can all make try to make. In trying to come up with the best way to relieve congestion maybe the whole toll road issue will be swept aside. Oh well, one can dream.

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