The report from the Texas Transportation Institute at Texas A&M looks at the country’s overall traffic situation and ranks individual cities.
Tim Lomax is the project’s research engineer:
“Congestion has gotten better during the economic recession. Fewer people going to work, less traffic on the roads. The traffic is down a little bit for the individual person. Their drive to work is probably a little bit better.”
But Lomax warns this is no time for complacency. Traffic has already has increased from 2008 and it will increase more as the economy recovers. Lomax says we should invest in roads and transit now, while construction costs are still relatively low.
But back to the ranking.
We used to be number eight. But Houston has climbed into the number four spot, just behind D.C., Chicago and L.A. That’s because the economy here didn’t suffer as much as other cities — so the traffic here never really eased up.
“So I think there’s probably a lot of places in the country that wish they had more traffic congestion because that would mean they have more people employed and going to work during the rush hours. So this is kind of the silver lining on the congestion cloud is that the economy isn’t as bad elsewhere.”
According to the report, last year the typical Houston commuter sat in traffic for 57 hours. That’s two more hours compared to a few years ago.
If you calculate the lost time and the wasted gasoline — it adds up to about $100 a month for the average Houston commuter.
From the KUHF Health Science and Technology Desk, I’m Carrie Feibel.